Funeral for girl (6) who died of meningitis to be held on Tuesday

HSE says it is aware of anxiety in Co Meath after Kayla Carey and another child caught infection

Kayla Carey from Navan died on Thursday from suspected meningococcal meningitis. Image:

The funeral of a six-year-old girl who died from suspected meningococcal meningitis in Co Meath last week is to take place on Tuesday.

Kayla Carey, from Navan, died at Temple Street Hospital on Thursday. A second child is believed to still be in hospital after also being diagnosed with the disease. The HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases.

Both cases were reported to the HSE’s department of public health on Friday and HSE staff were liaising with a primary school and the families affected. It is understood the second child is related to Kayla.

The HSE said the spread of meningococcal meningitis from person to person is very unusual, especially outside of close household contact.


Acknowledging the concerns that people may be experiencing following the two cases, Dr Paul Kavanagh, director of public health medicine for the HSE in the northeast, said his thoughts were with the families of the two children.

“We are obviously very much aware of the anxiety that is being experienced locally and our focus is to ensure appropriate public health measures are put in place,” he said.

“Our medical experts are working closely with the school where they attended, advising and supporting parents, guardians and teachers. They are also working with the clinical staff who cared for the cases and their families.”


Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacterial and viruses.

Bacterial meningitis is less common but usually more serious than viral meningitis and requires urgent treatment with antibiotics. Bacterial meningitis may be accompanied by septicaemia (blood poisoning).

The bacteria live naturally in the nose and throat of normal healthy persons without causing illness. The spread of the bacteria is caused by droplets from the nose and mouth. The illness occurs most frequently in young children and adolescents, usually as isolated cases. Bacterial meningitis or septicaemia requires urgent antibiotic treatment.

Kayla is survived by her parents Geraldine and Martin, sister Faith, brother Brooklyn and extended family. Her funeral mass takes place at 10.30am on Tuesday at St Mary’s Church in Navan.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times