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Daily Bulletin

Thursday, January 8, 1998

University of Waterloo • Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Don't kiss meningitis goodbye

As meningitis vaccination clinics continue at UW and elsewhere in Kitchener-Waterloo, a new case of the bacterial disease has been reported. A young man from Mississauga is in hospital with a case of meningitis that he apparently caught at a New Year's Eve party in K-W, health authorities in Peel Region announced yesterday. Waterloo Region health officials said they are helping to track down the man's "close personal contacts", and the Star reports this morning that such people, including his family, are being given antibiotics.

Health authorities reported four other new meningitis cases yesterday -- two in Waterloo Region and two in Peel -- but said they're not the same deadly meningococcal form of the disease that has killed two K-W teenagers and put several other people in hospital since mid-December.

Barbara Schumacher, UW's director of health services, says she is concerned that people don't know as much as they should about how meningitis is -- and isn't -- passed from person to person. "This disease," she said yesterday afternoon, "is not as contagious as the flu. It is spread by direct contact with infected saliva. Therefore, avoid activities such as sharing eating utensils, beer or pop bottles, cigarettes or lip balm, dipping food into a common bowl, and wet kissing." There's no reason for outsiders to be afraid of visiting Kitchener-Waterloo, she said, "but we do want you to be aware of and practice safe behaviours when you're here."

I've heard a few reports that people travelling from this area, including UW students who started their co-op work terms this week across Canada, are getting funny looks from people who wonder if they're spreading a disease. Again, not sharing saliva is the key. And Schumacher points out that the incubation period for meningococcal meningitis is two to four days, so if you caught the disease while you were in Waterloo at the end of the fall term, you'd be in hospital by now.

Today's clinics are still for the "target" age group of children and young people 2 through 22. (The clinic in the SLC is for UW students and the children of students, faculty and staff. There's also a clinic being held off campus, at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, for anyone in the target age group who lives, studies or works in Waterloo Region.) Yesterday's clinic was generally busy, with a waiting time of 45 minutes by mid-afternoon.

I understand there were a few incidents at the SLC yesterday of people over age 22 who weren't happy about not being allowed to get shots right away. Schumacher said UW's health services is still working on the possibility of offering vaccinations for people aged 23 and over, once the clinics for the target group are finished.

Hours for today's clinic are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A final clinic tomorrow in the SLC will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Schumacher said there was a good turnout of volunteers yesterday to help with paperwork and lineups. Even her boss, Catharine Scott, the associate provost (human resources and student services), came to take a shift. More volunteers are wanted today, especially for suppertime and the evening hours; anyone who can help should get in touch with the turnkey desk, ext. 4434.

Schumacher advises people that "they will tolerate the shot best if they make sure they have breakfast before coming to the clinic." Or lunch, as the case may be.

Service remembers Chandrashekar

A memorial service for Muthu Chandrashekar will be held Monday, January 12, in the Theatre of the Arts. The systems design engineering professor died of a heart attack at his home on January 4. Cremation was held yesterday, along with Hindu religious observations; Keith Hipel, a colleague in systems design, gave a eulogy. Chandrashekar's remains will be flown to his family in India on January 13.

Born in Banaras, India, Chandrashekar, who was 50 at his death, earned a MASc (1970) and PhD (1973) in systems design engineering at UW after completing his undergraduate work in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He joined the systems design engineering department in 1973 as an assistant professor, was appointed an associate professor in 1979, and full professor in 1985, and served as associate chair (undergraduate studies) and acting chair of the department.

Best known for his research in the field of solar energy, Chandrashekar headed the WatSun laboratory. He developed computer models for the analysis and design of energy systems, integrating ideas from thermodynamics, information theory, network theory and solar energy. He was a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario and the International Solar Energy Society, and an amateur jazz pianist.

Under rain that isn't freezing

Ah, but it's been freezing in Québec and eastern Ontario, where close to half a million households, mostly around Montréal, are without hydro power after a major ice storm. It's going to take days to restore the electricity and get people home from the shelters where they've taken refuge -- and meanwhile, more ice is expected. Some 30 of UW's correspondence students live in Montréal and have been trying to study by candlelight for the fall term exams that are scheduled for this Saturday. Don Kasta of the distance education office, says plans are uncertain because the exam centre there, a church basement, has been requisitioned as a shelter and probably won't be available for academic purposes. "We haven't heard anything from Ottawa," where the ice storm hit but not quite so fiercely, Kasta said yesterday afternoon.

The registration centre in the Physical Activities Complex has closed now. Undergraduate students who haven't yet registered for the winter term should head for Needles Hall instead. They'll find that the bill is a little higher than it would have been; late fees start today, at $10 for the first day and an additional $3 each day.

The Martial Arts Club has announced a "demonstration and sign-up" starting at 7:00 tonight in the "blue activity area" of the Physical Activities Complex. Says Kim Martin of the club: "The university club is run by qualified Black Belts that volunteer their time to instruct students, faculty and staff in the various martial arts. Currently the Club offers three different martial arts: Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Aiki Jujutsu. The three arts will be demonstrated and discussions with the different instructors after the demonstration is encouraged. Contrary to popular belief not all martial arts are taught with preliminary techniques that require you to do 3,000 push-ups, wax 10 cars repeatedly, or lie on hot coals. The club has always had the philosophy that you must be able to write your exams/midterms tomorrow, and you shouldn't have to do it wearing a thin film of Rub-A535." Questions? He can be reached at ext. 2457, e-mail klmartin@math.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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