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Jan 27, 2004

2 die from meningitis in Cayo

The Ministry of Health is investigating a couple of suspected cases of Meningitis in the Cayo District. In the first week of January an adult died after he contracted what doctors believe to be a form of Meningitis, a disease that affects the brain. Then on Sunday, a nine-month-old baby died at the Belmopan Hospital after doctors strongly suspect the child had also contracted the illness. This evening when News 5 contacted the Ministry of Health we were told they cannot comment at this time, but that on Wednesday epidemiologist Doctor Paul Edwards, will be going to San Ignacio to investigate the cases. We understand that the Public Health Authority has been informed and a team has been looking into the matter. We also understand that the deceased’s families and persons who may have come into close contact with the infected persons have been receiving treatment. In both recent cases, the source of infection has not been identified. Doctors tell News 5 that the disease is highly contagious, especially during the first twenty-four hours of contact. Meningitis cases are caused by bacteria that live in the nasal pharynx of adults and children. It is transported in saliva or by droplets from the nose from the infected person to another. Parents of young children should watch for severe headaches, vomiting, stiff neck, and irritability.

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