Case of meningitis confirmed in Tuktoyaktuk school

The N.W.T. health department is taking steps to ensure a single case of meningitis discovered in Tuktoyaktuk does not spread.

N.W.T. medical director says health department is taking steps to ensure it doesn't spread

Andre Corriveau, the territory's medical director, has confirmed a single case of meningitis in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

A single case of meningitis has been confirmed at Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk by the N.W.T. territorial medical director.

Dr. Andre Corriveau said privacy matters preclude releasing much information, but he did say steps are being taken to prevent the infection from spreading. Meningitis is bacterial infection of the covering of the brain, and can be very serious.

Corriveau said the case was confirmed Sunday.

"Because it's a communicable disease, there's a process we go through every time we have a new case," said Corriveau. "We want to make sure that people who might have been exposed are contacted and offered antibiotic treatment."

Corriveau said the bacteria is spread through close contact with someone infected, usually through droplets spread through coughing or sneezing. That could include family members who live with the infected person, or students who may have been in close proximity.

He said health authorities are identifying who could have had close contact with the person, and are offering antibiotic treatment as a preventative measure.

Cases of meningitis in the territory are very rare, Corriveau said, and the current case should not cause alarm.

"We're trying to explain to people that the risk is very low," he said. "But this action is taken to prevent further spread."

With files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi