Meningitis at a Canadian University Underscores the Need for Vaccination February 15, 2015 By Caitlin Bradford Leave a Comment Courtesy of Municipalidad de Talcahua on Flickr Two cases of strain B meningitis have been diagnosed in students at a Canadian university in Nova Scotia. One of the two students died from the infection while the other is currently undergoing treatment. “Two cases of the same strain of meningococcal meningitis in one location, such as a university campus, constitutes an institutional outbreak,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the Head of Public Health in Nova Scotia. It has not been disclosed whether either student was vaccinated against the disease, but a vaccination campaign with the hopes of protecting the thousands of students at the university is being planned. The first case was diagnosed just a few weeks ago, but the government’s response has been swift and included letters sent to students and their families shortly after the second diagnosis. Although meningitis is not nearly as contagious as measles, the response of government officials was highly effective at helping to contain the disease. Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis: Nausea Fever Headache Stiff neck Vomiting Sensitivity to light Confusion Meningococcal meningitis can be highly dangerous, even lethal, but its inability to spread through the air helps keep many individuals safe. Generally, it is only spread through living in close quarters or kissing. The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone, especially those in universities or other locations where individuals are living in close quarters. Outbreaks in universities and other close-knit institutions is not unheard of. Almost a year ago, Tim Bozon, a minor league hockey player, nearly died from a similar form of meningitis, leading to his team receiving antibiotics and vaccinations against the disease. Bozon has since recovered and is working toward playing in the National Hockey League again for the team that drafted him, the Montreal Canadiens. He credits his survival to the quick actions of a team trainer when he first came down with symptoms. Vaccination is considered the best preventative measure against meningitis. For more information on meningitis and vaccination against the disease, visit Passport Health’s meningitis webpage. Do you have family in university? Have they received the meningitis vaccination? What has been their experience with the disease? Comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page with your story.