Algoma Public Health


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What is it?

  • A rare infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
  • A medical emergency.   Must be seen by doctor immediately.

 What are the symptoms?

  • Appear suddenly.
  • Fever, chills and intense headache.
  • Nausea and often vomiting.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Frequently a pink rash.  Sometime blisters will form.
  • Becomes delirious.  Can lead to coma and death.

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Contact Us!


Sault Ste. Marie: 705-942-4646

Blind River: 705-356-2551

Elliot Lake: 705-848-2314

Wawa: 705-856-7208


 How quickly do symptoms develop?

  • Usually within 2 to 10 days, commonly 3 to 4 days after contact with an infected person.

 How is it spread?

  • By direct contact with oral secretions, including respiratory droplets, from the nose and throat of infected people.
    • Examples include sharing food, drinking glasses, water bottles, eating utensils and cigarettes; performing mouth to mouth resuscitation and kissing.

 How long is it contagious?

  • Until the germ is no longer present in discharges from the nose and throat; i.e. usually 24-48 hours after start of antibiotic treatment.

 How is it treated?

  • With antibiotic medication, usually given intravenously.
  • Oral antibiotic medication is often recommended for close contacts and sometimes for all daycare contacts. All household members of an infected person are considered close contacts.

 What can you do?

  • Make sure your child is up to date with immunizations.  Children 2 months to 5 years of age are routinely immunized against one type of meningitis; i.e. Haemophilus influenza b.  Children aged one year are immunized against Meningococcal C. Children in Grade 7 are immunized against 4 types of meningitis; i.e. Meningococcal A, C, Y & W-135.
  • If travelling outside of Canada or U.S.A. the check with your local health unit regarding vaccination recommendations.
  • Do not share personal items, including eating utensils, food, water glasses, water bottles or cigarettes.
  • Practice good hand washing.

For further information contact the Communicable Disease Control Program at 705-942-4646 or toll free at 1-866-892-0172.


Date of Creation: June 1, 2015

Last Modified: Feb 25, 2016