The Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into the possible cause of a rise in the number of students falling ill at some educational institutions.
Chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Michael Coombs, told The Gleaner yesterday that the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), under the guidance of the ministry, was probing the matter.
Earlier this week, The Gleaner reported that an apparent increase in the number of children falling ill with high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting at schools in sections of the island was sparking concern among school administrators at some of the institutions.
A five-year-old class-two student at Alpha Infant in Kingston died on Sunday following symptoms of fever and diarrhoea.
Principal of the institution, Nicolette McDonnough-Foster, had said, however, she was unsure if the boy's death resulted from the symptoms.
Coombs yesterday said while he was unsure what the specific cause for the illnesses was, gastro-enteritis should not be ruled out as one of the possibilities.
"A team from the SERHA, under the oversight of the ministry, has been investigating the matter and taking the necessary steps and we are expecting a report," he said.
LOOK FOR EARLY SIGNS
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites is encouraging persons to be extra careful in looking for early signs of the illness in their children.
"I am particularly perturbed by the incident at Alpha and so I'm begging persons to be very careful and to look out for early signs," he said.
"There is currently an intensified collaboration between both ministries (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education), particularly in the detection of outbreaks, not only physically but also mental health. We want to focus on their mental health because there are so many of them suffering mentally and so many things taking place with our kids."
He added: "We want to be on top of these things as early as possible."