The death of A 9-year-old boy from the Kako village in Region 7 and the brain-dead state of his 11 year old brother has health officials still asking questions about the circumstances surrounding their death.
But Health Minister Dr George Norton told the press corps today at the Public Buildings that the boys conditions was not linked to meningitis as reported in some sections of the media but to encephalopathy, which translates to brain damage.
The Health Minister said the origin of the conditions are unknown but the children’s symptoms point to toxics most likely cyanide. Minister Norton, when asked, said the death of one boy, and brain damage to the other is in no way linked to mining activity.
“The village is in the Kako River about half a mile from the Kako River mouth,” Norton said, Mining is in the Mazaruni River not in Kako. “The fact that you have mining in and around the area, there is no reason to associate death to mining activity.”
Dr Norton reported that the children in the Kako Village reported having runny noses and coughs. “The community health worker thought it best to get children from Kako to Kamarang where two doctors are stationed,” Norton told the press corps, “[the children] were not advised by the Doctor to do so, but Doctors evaluated and found that of 39 children, five had elevated temperatures, and most others had a common cold and cough.”
“None of them had symptoms similar to the two brothers. They were all treated and sent back to their village,” Norton concluded.
Tests were conducted by local authorities, but there are other samples which were sent out to Trinidad and Tobago. Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle expects those results will be back by the end of this week