Volume 95, Issue 89

Thursday, March 21, 2002
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It's official: London 'all mixed up'

Malaise at Dalhousie University

Meningitis death causes fear

Colleges get funding to play 'tradesies'

Critics dismiss immigration study

Physics lecture: 'pretty geeky'

Engineers plan future pumping poop

Labatt's - making dreams come true

News Briefs

Meningitis death causes fear

By Jeff Hignett
Gazette Staff

A recent death in Ingersoll, suspected to have been caused by meningococcal disease, has caused panic in neighbouring Oxford County communities.

Mike Maxwell, a 17-year-old student at Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute, died last week only 29 hours after falling ill.

IDCI has unfortunately experienced numerous tragedies in the past several months, including a student drowning in August, said Sam Warren, IDCI principal.

"The reaction of the students is consistent with how it has happened at the school," he said. "It has been quiet throughout the building instead of [the usual] excitement after March break."

To address the ensuing panic at the school, the Oxford County Health Unit came to provide information and answer questions about meningococcal disease on Monday, Warren said.

Bryna Warshawska, the associate medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, confirmed this is one isolated case in which anyone in close enough contact with Maxwell has already been assessed and given antibodies for precautionary reasons.

Last year, free mass immunizations were given at Western, Fanshawe College and around the community in response to a meningococcal outbreak in London.

Warshawska said she thinks immunization should become universally available.

"The first step to making them available is through public funding, which is a provincial initiative," she said, adding a new vaccine licensed last April, mengiaugate, provides increased immunization against various types of the disease.

Tom Macfarlane, director of Student Health Services at Western, said this isolated case is not a cause for great concern.

MacFarlane said concerned persons should contact their physicians. "Menningococcal disease can present itself in its early stages much like flu or a flu-like illness," he added.

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