(Trinidad Guardian) The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) is on heightened alert after two children from different schools in South Trinidad died from suspected cases of meningitis. While the cause of the deaths has not been confirmed, the SWRHA has ensured public health measures have been put in place at the schools because the disease is contagious.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed one of the children was a student of the Fifth Company Baptist Primary School, but also made no mention of a suspected case at any other school. However, a ministry source said yesterday that they were unaware of a second student dying from suspected meningitis. The SWRHA also did not identify the schools in the release. It stated, “Due to the contagious nature of the disease, officials from the South-West Regional Health Authority and the Office of the County Medical Officer of Health for County Victoria visited the children’s schools to ensure that the public health measures have been put in place and surveillance continues.
“The SWRHA continues to be on heightened alert and surveillance for suspected meningitis cases and has coordinated all its facilities to be fully prepared for any further presence of the disease in the South-West Region.”
In keeping with the SWRHA’s protocols, the release stated samples to test for meningitis were taken from the patients and sent to the T&T Public Health Laboratory.
“The authority remains committed to taking all the precautions required to manage a contagious disease of this type and is committed to safeguarding the health of the population.”
The SWRHA lists the following meningitis symptoms
- Neck stiffness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Stomach cramps
- Intolerance to light
- Fever with chills and cold hands and feet
Precautions for Prevention
Personal hygiene practices are the main means of protecting yourself and your family, therefore members of the public can take simple precautions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like Meningitis. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash bin after use and wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have a tissue sneeze into your sleeve or elbow Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water especially after coming in contact with any secretions. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Stay home when you are sick to avoid spread.