Health officers in Nova Scotia are investigating a suspected case of meningococcal meningitis after the dying of a Halifax college student.
In a information launch, Nova Scotia Health says the case is within the province’s Western Zone, although the student attended Saint Mary’s University. The student died in hospital over the weekend.
No particulars concerning the student have been launched.
The well being authority says it has already recognized and been in touch with those that might have been straight uncovered to the individual.
“At this time there is no indication of increased risk to the general public or the Saint Mary’s University community,” mentioned Dr. Jesse Kancir, the regional medical officer of well being, within the information launch.
“Bacterial meningitis is not spread through casual contact, such as sitting next to or talking with someone who is sick with the disease.”
Public Health says the micro organism that may trigger meningococcal illness are unfold by direct secretions from the nostril and mouth by actions comparable to kissing, and sharing meals, drinks, water bottles, toothbrushes, consuming utensils, cigarettes and different smoking merchandise and gadgets.
“Public Health’s focus has been on figuring out and contacting those that have been straight uncovered to allow them to obtain prophylactic antibiotics to stop additional unfold of the illness,” Kancir mentioned.
Kancir says no different circumstances have been recognized at the moment.
Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious illness skilled in Nova Scotia, advised CTV News Wednesday that the illness does not unfold like different respiratory viruses.
“It does take extra extended contact and shut contact for many dangerous strains of micro organism that trigger meningitis to unfold, and particularly, what we name meningococcus,” mentioned Barrett.
“And I believe it is vital to acknowledge that there are vaccines on the market that should forestall sure varieties of meningitis and should you’re eligible for these, to exit and be sure that everyone seems to be in a well-vaccinated scenario. It’s not simply respiratory viruses, there are different ailments that we will forestall with vaccines.”
In a letter to college students and workers, SMU mentioned Public Health’s investigation doesn’t contain any of the college’s residences.
The college has not launched any particulars concerning the student.
“While we are not in a position to provide any further identifying information, it is important that we share this news with you as Nova Scotia Public Health has let us know that they are treating this death as an investigation of a suspected case of meningococcal meningitis,” mentioned Tom Brophy, the affiliate vice-president of Student Affairs and Services, within the letter.
“I need to prolong my deepest sympathy to the household and mates of this student and the whole thing of the Saint Mary’s University neighborhood impacted by this tragedy.”
The faculty additionally supplied a listing of counselling and psychological well being helps obtainable to college students.
Currently, there isn’t any vaccine that protects towards all causes of meningococcal meningitis. Nova Scotia’s publicly funded vaccine program at present gives monovalent meningococcal C vaccine at 12 months of age and, as a part of the Grade 7 faculty immunization program with the quadrivalent meningococcal A, C, Y, W135 vaccine.
Health officers add that the meningococcal B vaccine shouldn’t be a part of the publicly funded vaccine program in Nova Scotia, however is out there to those that are recognized as having shut contact with a meningococcal case, or are at increased threat of meningococcal illness.
Symptoms of the illness might embrace fever, headache, stiff neck, rash, sensitivity to mild and adjustments in stage of alertness.
Public well being recommends searching for medical consideration instantly should you change into ailing with any of those signs.
More details about the illness is out there on-line.