Two children at creche are treated for deadly strain of meningitis
TWO children from the same creche are being treated after contracting a potentially deadly form of meningitis.
The youngsters attend Sunny Hollow creche in Ballyheelan, Kilnaleck, near Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan.
A spokesperson for the creche referred queries to the HSE, which confirmed that the two children are "responding well to treatment".
It is not known if they were hospitalised.
All children and staff have been given antibiotics but the premises remains open.
It is understood that one of the children has been diagnosed with the B strain of the infection. The HSE has still not introduced a vaccine for this form of the disease .
Senior doctors are currently examining if the first jab to reduce the risk of the B strain, which came on the market last year, should be made routinely available to babies.
The first child contracted the infection on Tuesday and the other became ill the day after.
The HSE advised people to be vigilant and make themselves aware of the symptoms, which include high temperature, headache, stomach, joint or muscle pain, nausea or vomiting, irritability, drowsiness/ impaired consciousness, and a pinpoint or blotchy purple rash which does not fade when pressed.
Other symptoms include a stiff neck and dislike of bright light.
Information and advice has also been provided to parents of children at the creche.
Sunny Hollow is a modern purpose-built creche and childcare facility that caters for children from six months to 13 years of age.
A statement from the HSE said it was "advising people to be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection (meningitis) after the occurrence of infection in two children attending the same creche in Ballyheelan, Kilnaleck.
"The HSE acknowledges the full co-operation and support of the creche staff and management," it added.
"Meningococcal infection often has a sudden onset and, while most people recover, it can be fatal," the statement added.
The disease occurs most commonly in winter and spring. Young children and adolescents are most at risk, but it can occur in any age group.
The HSE is advising people to contact their doctor immediately if they suspect they or their child has symptoms or signs of meningococcal infection.
Babies may have a tense or bulging fontanelle, which is the soft spot on top of head, blotching or pale skin, a refusal to feed, fretfulness or stiffness and jerkiness or a floppy body.
Meningitis is caused by bacterial infection. It does not spread easily, and close and prolonged contact is usually required for the bacteria to spread from person to person.