A person in Waterloo region recently died after contracting meningococcal meningitis, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo Public Health’s acting medical officer of health, confirmed to Global News.
She said the young adult died from the disease the week before last.
“This death is a rare and tragic occurrence,” Wang told Global News through email.
Wang says there have been no additional cases reported in the region, which normally sees a handful or fewer on an annual basis.
Anyone who had come into contact with the victim was offered a vaccine and preventive antibiotics, she said.
Meningococcal meningitis can be spread through saliva so those who are at a higher risk include household contacts, intimate partners, and those who shared cigarettes, vapes, food and drink.
While the disease is contagious, it is not an airborne disease, meaning it is spread in a manner similar to a cold or the flu.
Wang said there is “no increased risk to the general public” but also warned that the best way to avoid contracting the disease is immunization, so the public is warned to keep immunization records up to date.
She also recommends that residents avoid sharing things like cigarettes, vapes or drinks.