A Miami YWCA day care center where a child who attended was diagnosed with meningitis and later died will remain closed as an investigation continues.
Dr. Alvaro Mejia, a medical epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, said the children who died – a 22-month-old boy who died Dec. 3 and a 2-year-old boy who died Sunday – both attended the YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Center Day Care located at 112 NW 3rd Street in Miami.
The death of the first child led the agency to send a letter to parents warning that a child was recently diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. The letter did not tell parents the child died.
The cause of death has not been determined for the second child. It is not yet known if the child had meningitis.
Mejia said tests are being run to determine whether the deaths were caused by the same organism or if they are linked, adding that results should be ready by Friday.
Jose Galan, a Miami-Dade County spokesperson, said the YWCA day care center voluntarily closed on Tuesday and will remain closed on Wednesday as the Florida DOH and the Florida Department of Children and Families inspect the day care and investigate the matter.
Galan said officials do not yet know if the child deaths are connected or if they are linked to the day care center.
Kerry-Ann Royes, the CEO of the YWCA, released a statement expressing their condolences after the deaths.
"The entire YWCA family is heartbroken by the loss of these precious lives and offer our sincere condolences to their parents, families, and friends," Royes wrote. "The health, safety, and well-being of our YWCA families and staff are our greatest concern."
The Florida DOH's letter urged parents of children with conditions affecting their immune system and parents of children showing meningitis symptoms to immediately seek medical care.
"Symptoms of meningitis include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness or confusion, nausea, and vomiting. These bacteria are common and are spread from person to person by sneezing and coughing, direct contact with saliva, sputum or nasal mucus of infected people," a Florida DOH official wrote in the letter. "The most effective way to prevent this illness is to wash hands thoroughly and frequently, use proper respiratory hygiene, not to share eating or drinking utensils, and dispose of tissues properly."