Meningitis outbreak declared at Canada university

MONTREAL (AFP) - Officials launched a meningitis vaccination campaign at a Canadian university on Friday after detecting two cases of the infection, health authorities said.

A student at Acadia University in the province of Nova Scotia was killed by the infection at the beginning of the month.

Head of public health for the province, Robert Strang, announced the detection of a second strain B meningitis case at the university.

"Two cases of the same strain of meningococcal meningitis in one location, such as a university campus, constitutes an institutional outbreak," Strang said in a letter on Friday.

A vaccination campaign is being organised for the university's several thousand students, he said.

Meningitis is an infection that causes swelling around the brain and spinal cord that can quickly become fatal.

It can be transferred by secretions from the nose and mouth.

But the disease is not highly contagious, Strang said.

"This disease does not spread through the air or through casual exposure," he said in a letter to the university.

The government of Nova Scotia has placed an order for 10,000 vaccines for the vaccination campaign. A second injection will be given to students before the end of the semester.

This is the fourth case of meningitis detected in Nova Scotia this year. Earlier, a grade schooler died from a different strain of meningitis in the province.