Newark urges residents to go to free meningitis screening after student death

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on March 11, 2015

NEWARK — Free screenings and antibiotic treatments are available for anyone who may have had contact with an Oliver Street Elementary School student who died last week, possibly from meningitis, Newark officials said in a statement.

On Monday, the state department of health confirmed that a six-year old student at Oliver Street Elementary school that died last Thursday may have had bacterial meningitis.

According to the Newark Health Department, the student could have died from either viral or bacterial meningitis.

The free clinic can be accessed via the city's Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Centers, which can be reached at (973) 877-6111 or (973) 733-7600 . The Centers are located at 394 University Avenue and 110 William Street, the city said.

Those who wish to use the city's services should mention they are are calling from Oliver Street School to be served expeditiously, the city's statement said.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's administration has previously called for students who may have had close contact with a six-year old student who may have died from meningitis to get screened.

"It is the recommendation of the Newark Department of Health, that any child of the Oliver Street School who came in close contact with the deceased should be evaluated immediately by their primary care physician," Hanaa Hamdi, director of the city's health and wellness department, said in a statement.

The six-year first got sick on Feb. 23 when she was sent home from school, said Hamdi.

The student returned on the 25th and stayed in school through the 27th, she said. The first-grader was admitted into a local hospital on the 28th and died on March 5, according to the city health department.

Newark officials said Wednesday that the student was in school during the "height of infection."

The state health department originally said the child had been out of school for 10 days. State officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A mobile clinic will also be visiting Oliver Street School on Thursday between 4 and 6 p.m. to provide healthcare services to parents, teachers, and children, the city said.

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