Interior Health wraps up Okanagan high school immunizations for meningococcal outbreak

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

OKANAGAN - The Interior Health Authority is wrapping up this week its meningococcal vaccination program at high schools across the Okanagan Valley.

The health authority on Dec. 14 declared an outbreak of meningococcal disease after an unusually high number of cases — eleven — were reported in the Okanagan health service area.

It then announced public health nurses would begin immediate vaccination clinics at all Okanagan high schools with a focus on 15 to 19 year olds.

The health authority said there has been no new confirmed cases however it did confirm the death of one of the people who originally contracted the disease although it stressed that the cause of death remains unconfirmed and there may have been other contributing factors.

According to Interior Health, as of Tuesday, Dec. 19, the vaccination had been given to 5,397 individuals or 41.3 per cent of the target population.

The meningococcal vaccination has been given to Grade 9 students beginning in 2016 and those who have received it do not need to get it again.

The two most common diseases are meningococcal meningitis where the bacteria causes the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord and meningococcal septicemia where the bacteria enters the bloodstream.

Look here for more information about meningococcal disease and links to the remaining immunization clinics.

— This story was pdated at 12:11 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 with new information from the Interior Health Authority.


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