9-year-old boy’s death not related to mining- Dr. Norton


A high-level team from the Ministry of Health on Sunday visited region Seven to investigate what caused the death a nine- year- old boy from the KAKO community in Region Seven and the brain dead state of his brother.

The second brother has been declared brain dead in the Intensive Care Unit at the Georgetown Hospital.

On Monday, Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton has clarified the circumstances surrounding the incident is not linked to meningitis as was reported in some sections of the media.

The public Health minister also explained that following the first death and illness of the second boy, the community became alarmed which led to 39 children being brought to the city for further diagnosis.

Fortunately, it was determined that the children although five had elevated temperatures and others suffered from the common cold, none had symptoms similar to that of the brothers.

Minister Norton told media operatives today, at a press conference at Public Buildings that a team visited Upper Mazaruni yesterday, to assess the current situation in Kako and surrounding villages. The team also comprised members of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Minister Norton said that the cause of death of the nine-year-old is due to brain damage, and he also had the malaria virus.

Minister Norton pointed out that Kako, in the Kako River; Region Seven is about half a mile from the river’s mouth and not far from the Mazaruni River. The Minister said that “there is no reason to link the death and illness to mining activity.” Mining occurs in and around the Kako River.

Dr. Norton reported that children from the village of Kako are having runny noses and coughs and the community health worker thought it was best to bring the children to Kamarang village, where there are two doctors. Minister Norton explained that five from the 39 children had elevated temperatures, and most of the others had the ‘common cold’ and cough.

“They were treated and sent back to their village because none of them had symptoms of the two brothers,” Minister Norton said.

Samples were tested by local authorities and some were sent overseas for further testing. Dr. Karen Boyle, Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that the results are expected by the end of the week.

According to previous media reports, the boy was killed and his brother lies brain-dead following what is suspected to be a case of cyanide poisoning. According to reports, the children complained of severe headaches, fever, and coughing.

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