Dr. Robert Strang said he was called Saturday when a young woman was brought into the emergency department at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, near Wolfville where she was studying at Acadia University.
He said the woman, whose identity was not being released at her family's request, was already in critical condition and died the following day in hospital despite being given antibiotics.
"Sometimes infectious diseases can be extremely rapidly progressive and despite the best medical attention we're not able to be successful in treatment," he said.
He said they are doing tests to determine what kind of bacterial meningitis affected the young woman, who is not from Nova Scotia. He said that can help determine what kind of vaccine should be given to people who were deemed to be close contacts of the student's.
Health officials have been talking to people who were in contact with the student and have administered antibiotics in six people. He said none of those contacts has shown signs of illness.
University spokesman Scott Roberts said the school was informed by health officials that a student had become sick on the weekend and died Sunday. He said they're working with the Health Department to provide people with information on the illness.
"At this point it's a single isolated case in time on the campus," he said. "For the general campus community there's no increased risk."
Strang said the symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, a purplish rash and a fast progression of illness.
A Halifax-area high school student died last week after contracting meningitis. Before these two fatalities, Strang said there had not been a death linked to meningitis in the last decade.