Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on January 11, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Two cases of bacterial meningitis confirmed in Edmonton
Two cases of a potentially deadly form of meningitis have been confirmed in Edmonton.
Alberta Health Services said the cases of bacterial meningitis, also known as invasive meningoccoccal disease, were both confirmed in the city over the past two weeks.
A Grade 9 student at an Edmonton Catholic school is one of the two Edmontonians who have contracted the disease.
“He’s quite sick,” said Lori Nagy, spokesperson with Edmonton Catholic Schools. “He will be in hospital for some time.”
But Nagy said the student is recovering and because he contracted the disease over the Christmas break, the risk of infecting other students is very low.
Letters have also been sent home to notify parents about the case.
Bacterial meningitis is spread through direct contact with the bacteria from the nose or throat of someone who is infected.
It can be passed along by sharing food, drinks, lipstick, water bottles and kissing.
Symptoms like headache, fever, and nausea can quickly progress to a severe headache, a stiff neck and skin rash.
“Most people do recover but certainly it is a serious infection, in some cases it can be fatal,” said Dr. Gerry Predy with Alberta Health Services. “It can progress quickly, that’s why again we wanted to give physicians the heads up so if they are suspicious if they see someone that might have it.”
Predy is reminding Albertans to wash their hands often, don’t share food or drinks, and stay at home if feeling sick.
He added that while it isn’t uncommon for the province to have two confirmed cases around this time of year, it is enough to prompt an advisory.