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.
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.
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.
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