Volume 94, Issue 93

Friday, March 16, 2001


Atrium protest disrupts Israel Day

FTAA protesters get ready for summit

Homeless get funding

Teachers oppose criminal checks

Third meningitis scare lands boy in hospital

Crush the octogenarian uprising!


Corroded Disorder

Third meningitis scare lands boy in hospital

By Clare O'Hara
Gazette Staff

A 10-year-old Delaware, Ontario boy has become the latest victim of the meningococcal disease, marking the third meningitis case to strike London within the past three weeks.

London Health officials are now telling the local community to be highly aware on meningitis symptoms so that an epidemic does not break out.

Last Sunday, the boy was taken to an unspecified London hospital and found to be in critical condition, said spokesperson for the London Health Sciences Centre Nancy Lawrence.

Health officials have reacted quickly to ensure that all those that had been in contact with the boy were treated with antibiotics, she said.

"We want to make sure that those people who were in contact are treated immediately so we can stop the disease in its incubation period" said Bryna Warshawsky, an assistant medical officer for the Middlesex London Health Unit.

"We are also prepared to deal with setting up a vaccination. Even though we are far from that, we still want to be prepared," Warshawsky said.

In order for a general vaccination to be administered, there must be more linked cases of the potentially fatal disease that attacks the brain, Warshawsky added.

"The three cases that have already been reported have no obvious connection to one another," she said.

At the end of February, seven-year-old Kyle Verbakel of London was the first reported case, when he was diagnosed with meningococcemia. An unidentified 20-year-old Oxford County man was also later diagnosed with meningitis, and treated in a London hospital.

London health officials have also notified doctors to be aware of flu like symptoms with patients. "We want to increase awareness specifically with doctors being more alert with their patients," Warshawsky said.

Miguel Valvano, professor of microbiology and immunology at Western, said symptoms that need to be watched for are high fever, headache and, most critically, a stiff neck. "Physicians should be watching out for infection in the throat since this is the period [when] it can be prevented with antibiotics," Valvano said.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000