Interior Health Authority declares meningococcal outbreak - InfoNews

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Interior Health Authority declares meningococcal outbreak

FILE PHOTO - A patient gets a shot during a flu vaccine program in Calgary on Oct. 26, 2009.
Image Credit: Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS
December 14, 2017 - 3:07 PM

The Interior Health Authority said today it will offer immunization for meningococcal disease for teens 15 to 19 years old and those in grades 9 to 12.

Medical health officer Dr. Karin Goodison said in a press release the health authority is declaring an outbreak because it has recently identified 11 cases of meningococcal disease, mainly in the Okanagan, when in a typical year they would see around five.

Goodison said the risk to the general population is low but immunization is the best defence against the bacterial disease.

The vaccine has been part of routine immunization for Grade 9 students in B.C. since 2016 and those who have received it do not need to be reimmunized.

Immunizations begain today, Dec. 14, in Vernon schools and will continue all week throughout the Okanagan. Public health centres will also offer the vaccine for qualified individuals.

The health authority says meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that occurs rarely in Canada that is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact.

It can also spread through saliva, during such activities such as kissing or sharing of food, drinks, cigarettes, lipsticks, water bottles, mouth guards used for sports, or mouthpieces of musical instruments.

For more information about the Meningococcal Quadrivalent vaccine, visit HealthLink BC.

To find an immunization clinic near you, visit

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