Case of invasive meningococcal disease reported at Edmonton library

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WATCH: Alberta Health Services is warning anyone who attended a music program at the Lois Hole Library on Feb. 21 after a serious infectious disease was confirmed – Feb 27, 2018

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is alerting the public after a person with invasive meningcoccal disease visited a drop-in program at the Lois Hole Public Library while infectious.

The exposure took place on Feb. 21 at the Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn program between 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Anyone who participated in last Wednesday’s drop-in program at the Lois Hole Library may have been exposed.

“That bacteria is known to cause quite severe disease and when it presents in that severe way, it can be transferred readily from one person to another,” said Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, an AHS medical officer of health for the Edmonton Zone.

“I’m significantly concerned. This is a bacteria that causes very severe disease.

“In this circumstance, it did. We know and expect that it’s possible it could happen in somebody else. So that’s why we take a very, very low risk-accepting position and we really put out a large net and reach out to those that we think may have been recently exposed.”

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However, AHS said there is very low risk to the general public and only those individuals who participated in the specific program during the time frame noted may be at risk of exposure.

Anyone who was there that day and time is asked to call Health Link at 811 as soon as possible for follow up and assessment.

“This infection is not something to take lightly,” Hasselback said. “It causes very severe disease and unfortunately death in some cases. We have methods to prevent that severe outcome and we’re putting those in place.”

AHS says everyone who was at the library at that day and time should monitor themselves for symptoms until March 4. If the following symptoms develop, they should see a doctor:

  • sudden fever
  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • intense headache
  • vomiting
  • stiff neck
  • skin rash that spread rapidly, beginning as reddish/purple spots that don’t disappear when pressed

Invasive meningcoccal disease is caused by bacteria. The infection spreads from one person to another through direct contact with secretions from the nose or throat.