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Meningitis :: RI: No link in meningitis case, death

The test results received today from the student at Hopkins Hill Elementary School in Coventry who contracted meningitis showed no connection to the illnesses in Warwick and West Warwick.

The R.I. Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today that a review of the information collected over the past several days as a result of three encephalitis cases in Warwick, West Warwick, and Coventry indicate that there is no reason to keep schools closed at this time.

?We appreciate the cooperation and support that we have received from the Rhode Island community throughout this investigation, and at this time we feel confident that the schools in all three communities can reopen on Monday,? David R. Gifford, MD, MPH, Director of HEALTH.

?The investigation by HEALTH and the CDC show that there are no new cases of encephalitis in children, no increased levels of Mycoplasma pneumoniae-associated illness, and no concentration of that illness in any community,? Dr, Gifford said.

HEALTH, with the support of the CDC, will continue to monitor neurological cases in the state and look into the apparent increase in pneumonia back in November and early December.

On Friday, Governor Donald L. Carcieri issues an Executive Order requiring hand sanitization stations be installed at all Rhode Island schools. As part of the Executive Order, HEALTH and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued advisories on hand sanitization and when to keep students with respiratory illnesses home from school.

Hand sanitizing gels have been ordered by the state Emergency Management Agency and will be delivered tomorrow, and procedures are in place for school districts to take delivery of the gels and dispensers beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday.

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