Meningitis case at Halifax-area high school puts officials on alert
Officials are concerned about students at two Halifax-area high schools after one teen was diagnosed this week with meningitis.
After a Grade 10 student a Sackville High School was hospitalized with the bacterial infection, health officials have been tracing the student’s interactions to see who else could be at risk.
Students and teachers at Sackville High School this week got lessons about who could be at risk from meningococcal meningitis, while students at two high schools received letters this week advising them of the situation and reminding them not share drinks or food.
“People could be carrying the bug and not know that. But when somebody gets sick it's very obvious. So we're tracing all the people that could've been exposed,” said Dr. Robin Taylor, medical officer of health for Capital Health.
The infection can make patients very sick, very fast, with severe symptoms that include change of alertness, fever, a stiff neck, rash, or another illness that seems more severe than usual.
Meningitis causes the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed.
Because the disease is not airborne, health officials say the risk to students is low.
However there is greater concern for the dozens of students who attended a house party with the teen last Saturday.
The risk of infection increases through shared drinks, cigarettes, or more direct contact.
Dr. Taylor said there have been in-depth interviews to assess the risk to about 60 individuals.
As a precaution, public health officials said some people will be prescribed an antibiotic.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl