MIAMI – A day care center in downtown Miami closed voluntarily Tuesday after two children died of suspected meningitis this month, according to Florida Department of Health officials.
Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry, a medical epidemiologist with the state health department, confirmed that a 22-month-old boy died of pneumococcal meningitis on Dec. 3.
Officials said a second boy, a 2-year-old who attended the day care, died about a week later, but the cause of death has not been determined.
"They don't know yet if the deaths are related," said Jose Galan, an assistant director with Miami-Dade County, which owns the building.
The state health department wrote to parents of the YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Child Care Center last Thursday, warning that a child there had been recently diagnosis with meningitis. The letter did not disclose that the child had died. It also urged parents to seek medical attention if their children exhibited any symptoms.
The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Children and Families planned to inspect the day care center. The center agreed not to reopen until it had been cleared by those agencies.
"We are devastated by the death of two small children who attended this child care facility and we continue to grieve with their families and loved ones," Beatriz Lopez, regional spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families, said in statement.