THE six-year-old girl who died after contracting meningitis is to be laid to rest on Tuesday.
The death of Kayla Carey has left her hometown of Navan in Meath "devastated" according to local councillors, and Kayla's mother Geraldine Campbell noted on Facebook that a relative of the youngster remains in hospital after she too was diagnosed with the illness.
Kayla died at Temple Street Hospital last Thursday night, a short time after she was rushed there for treatment.
"My little princess didn't make it. RIP Kayla, Mammy loves you and can't believe this," Ms Campbell wrote.
The two children diagnosed with the illness attended the same school - Scoil Mhuire in Navan, Co Meath, and were diagnosed on Thursday.
All students and staff were sent home as a precaution, and psychologists from National Educational Psychological Service will provide support to teachers and parents.
The funeral mass for Kayla will take place in St Mary's Church Navan at 12:30pm on Tuesday.
"The untimely death has occurred of six-year old Kayla Carey..." a post on RIP.ie reads.
"Suddenly, surrounded by her family in Temple Street Hospital."
Dr Paul Kavanagh of the HSE said: “Our thoughts in the first instance are clearly with the families of these two children, and particularly with the family of the child who sadly and tragically died.”
“We are obviously very much aware of the anxiety that is being experienced locally and our focus is to ensure appropriate public health measures are put in place. Our medical experts are working closely with the school where they attended, advising and supporting parents, guardians and teachers. They are also working with the clinical staff who cared for the cases and their families.”
Dr Kavanagh said that meningitis is rare, thanks to the vaccination and cases when it does occur are usually isolated. He also stressed that the Public Health Protection Team are actively managing the situation locally.
Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacteria and viruses.
The signs and symptoms may include severe headaches, fever, vomiting, drowsiness, discomfort from bright light and neck stiffness. The HSE has urged people to consult their GP immediately, should they have concerns regarding the symptoms.