HALIFAX — Public health officials in Nova Scotia are investigating two cases of meningococcal meningitis after one university student died and another was recovering in hospital.
Officials say in a news release today that both individuals were students at Dalhousie University in Halifax and lived in the same Shirreff Hall residence.
They confirm both had the same strain of the bacteria called serogroup B, although there’s currently no known connection between the two cases other than the fact that they lived in the same residence.
Officials say they have already identified and contacted all those who may have been directly exposed to these two students.
Public Health says it will be holding vaccination clinics for the students and staff of Shirreff Hall this weekend.
Health officials and the university say they are working closely to keep everyone healthy in the larger Dalhousie community.
“At this time there is no indication of increased risk to the general public or the Dalhousie University community,” said Dr. Cristin Muecke, regional medical officer of health. “This form of bacterial meningitis is not spread through the air or casual contact, such as sitting next to or talking with someone who is sick with the disease.”
In a statement to the Dalhousie community, Muecke and vice-provost Rick Ezekiel extended condolences and said details about the student who died could not be shared out of respect for the family’s wishes.
"We recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this sort of news creates for our community," the statement said. "This is an extremely difficult time for our students living in Shirreff Hall, our community who supports our students, and the family and friends of the students impacted."
Last month, health officials reported the death of a student from a suspected case of meningococcal meningitis at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
The bacteria that can cause the disease are spread by direct secretions from the nose and mouth through activities such as kissing, and sharing food, drinks, water bottles, toothbrushes, utensils, cigarettes and other smoking products.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2022.
The Canadian Press