Wabaseemoong Residents Warned about Meningitis

Kenora Daily Miner & News
Wed 03 Jan 2007
Page: A2
Section: News
Byline: BY MINER AND NEWS STAFF

Health Canada staff have ruled that the isolated case of *meningitis* that claimed the life of a Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) resident on Christmas Eve was not contagious.

Consultations with the community health nurse have confirmed there has not been a second case of *pneumococcal meningitis* to date.

Information about signs and symptoms of *meningitis*, and when to seek medical attention, has been intensively communicated to all community members following this unfortunate incident, said spokesman Renee Bergeron.

According to the *Meningitis* Research Foundation in Canada, symptoms are very similar, and they include: sudden high fever, drowsiness or confusion, severe and unrelenting headache, stiff neck, intolerance to bright light and sounds, nausea that may be accompanied by vomiting, twitching, convulsions, delirium particularly in children. As well a rash of small, irregular purple or red spots all over the body may indicate *meningococcal* *meningitis*. 

Symptoms in infants under 12 months can be more difficult to identify. They include: high fever, fretfulness, irritability -- particularly when handled, difficulty awakening, drowsiness, difficulty feeding, vomiting, stiff neck and a bulging fontanelle (soft spot on top of head) may occur, but not at the outset.

The foundation says *pneumococcal* bacteria causes many different infections including *pneumonia*, bronchitis, ear and sinus infections, a blood infection called bacteraemia, as well as *meningitis*. *Meningitis* infection is rare; one or two cases per 100,000 people each year in Canada. This is a severe form of *meningitis*. Two out of every ten cases result in death even with treatment. Brain damage and/or deafness also occur in two out of every ten cases.

The web pages for the research centre say *meningitis* spreads through close contact, like a cold or *flu*. Coughing or sneezing, sharing eating utensils, kissing and close physical contact can spread the germs from person to person. People may carry the germs that cause *meningitis* without realizing, because it is difficult, if
not impossible to stop the transmission of germs, especially among children, prevention becomes an important consideration.

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