Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang confirmed today, Feb. 13, that the second Acadia University student with meningococcal meningitis has the B strain of the disease, and an on-campus vaccination program will begin Wednesday, Feb. 18.
“Two cases of the same strain of meningococcal meningitis in one location, such as a university campus, constitutes an institutional outbreak,” said Dr. Strang.
“Still, the risk remains low because this disease is not spread as easily as the cold or flu. Basic precautions and the vaccination program within the student population are the best measures to keep everyone healthy.”
Public health will hold vaccination clinics for the first dose of the vaccine in the Fountain Commons from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 and 19, and from noon to 8 p.m. from Feb. 23 to 25. Another round of clinics will take place before the end of the term for the second dose of vaccine.
The vaccine is for all students, as well as faculty and staff with certain rare health conditions.
The provincial lab confirmed the second Acadia case is meningococcal meningitis Tuesday night, and the National Microbiology Lab confirmed the strain late Thursday.
Local public health staff are on campus and working with the university to roll out the vaccination program and support student health services staff. Classes are continuing and public health is not recommending any limits to the movement of Acadia students and staff, or visitors to the campus.
Basic precautions can help prevent spreading the disease. Examples are:
— not sharing drinks, water bottles, eating utensils, lip balm or toothbrushes
— reducing direct contact with nose and mouth discharges
— washing hands, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if washing isn’t possible
Anyone with severe symptoms should go to an emergency department or call 911. If unsure, call 811 for advice. Symptoms include:
— change in the level of alertness and/or altered mental state
— stiff neck
— increased sensitivity to light
More information is available at http://novascotia.ca/meningitis .