Volume 94, Issue 99

Wednesday, March 28, 2000


NEWS

OUSA tackles real students with debt

USC is 'all ears' for students

Huron memorial mourns student loss - Jordan Propas remembered

JSU honours Holocaust victims in annual 24-hour UCC vigil

StatsCan links income to Internet

More meningitis hits London

Briefs

His Royal Mintiness

More meningitis hits London

Kristina Lundblad
Gazette Staff

A new laboratory confirmed case of meningococcal disease was reported this week by the Middlesex London Health Unit, bringing the total number of cases in London up to four this year.

According to Graham Pollett, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, a 53-year-old London man tested positive for the disease on Monday and his wife is now showing signs of the illness.

"This is the peak season, late winter, early spring," he said. "We want physicians in the area to be aware so they consider this in their assessments."

According to David Groves, president of the Canadian Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, meningococcal can in some cases be fatal. "[It's an] incredibly terrifying disease. Patients go downhill very quickly," he said.

"Individual students who are in close intimate contact or prolonged contact are at risk," Groves explained.

Close contact is considered to be direct contact with saliva or secretions of the nose or throat of an infected individual, Pollett said.

"In the case of university students, do not share beer bottles, drinks, lipstick, cigarettes, musical instruments, or water bottles," Pollett said.

Meningococcal disease is not especially common in any particular age group, Groves said, but young adults and teenagers, he added, are ideal for it.

He explained this is because young adults are often confined to one social setting, in close contact, which raises their chances of spreading the bacteria.

Tom Macfarlane, director of Student Health Services at Western, said in its early stages, the illness causes common flu-like symptoms. Symptoms may include a severe headache, a high temperature, neck stiffness, rashes and bruises, he said.

If the problem spreads in the London area, there is the possibility of implementing a vaccination program. However, Pollett said, there is currently no cause for alarm. "We are nowhere near requiring a mass immunization program," he said. "We would need clear evidence of the same strain in the community."

Macfarlane echoed Pollett's confidence. "The cases that have come up so far are each different strains of the bacteria. That would suggest that these are separate, isolated occurrences. Typically four or five cases of the same bacteria are needed before they implement an immunization process."


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