University says cause of student’s death is meningitis

University says cause of student’s death is meningitis

Kamloops This Week

Officials at Thompson Rivers University say a notice posted on the school’s website warning students about a deadly case of meningitis is strictly a precaution.

On Nov. 4, fourth-year TRU theatre student Bradley Munro, 23, died suddenly at his off-campus home.

Duane Seibel, the university’s manager of student and judicial affairs, said the cause of death is meningitis — but it is not believed other students are at risk.

A notice online at tru.ca, under the heading “Health Alert,” lists potential symptoms of meningitis and warns students to be cautious.

However, Seibel said, the measure is strictly precautionary.

“We’ve worked incredibly close with the communicable disease unit of Interior Health Authority and there’s absolutely no indication that this is a dangerous strain of meningitis,” Seibel said.

“But, on the advice of IHA, we’re taking precautions to warn people who have come into contact with Bradley.”

The notice was posted on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Meningitis is swelling of the brain.

It is usually caused one of two ways — virally or bacterially.

Viral meningitis is common and does not generally cause serious illness.

Bacterial meningitis, however, can cause brain damage or death. It is not as common as viral meningitis.

Seibel said he has been told tests are being conducted on Munro’s body to determine exactly what caused his meningitis.

But, at this point, he said it doesn’t look like students at TRU have anything to worry about.

In the theatre department, Seibel said students and staff are coping with Munro’s death.

“His family, his classmates and his faculty are all devastated,” he said.

“It is a tight-knit group of students. It’s family-like and quite unique to campus.”

Seibel said Munro, who is originally from Kitimat, was in his final semester and would have graduated next month.

He said the university has decided to award his degree posthumously.

“Bradley was a very engaged student,” Seibel said.

“He was involved in many aspects of campus culture.”

Students at TRU seemed largely unaware of the health warning.

Amanda Burke, a fourth-year fine arts student, said she hadn’t heard about it.

“It is concerning,” she said, adding that she’ll follow the advice of the online warning.

“I will, but I don’t imagine other students will. Students are a pretty apathetic bunch.”

The IHA is continuing to investigate.

A memorial service for Munro was held on Saturday, Nov. 12.

FROM TRU’S WARNING NOTICE

• Meningitis can be caused by many different kinds of viruses and bacteria. Only a few are spread person-to-person via oral secretion.

• All cases of meningitis that are spread person-to-person are investigated by the Communicable Disease Unit to identify who may be exposed. The Communicable Disease Unit notifies all those identified to provide them with information regarding preventative therapy or immunizations.

• The best protection against meningitis: do not share personal items used around the mouth and face such as straws, cigarettes, water bottles, or joints.