Vaccination advised after meningococcal disease confirmed at South Okanagan high school
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November 09, 2017 - 4:54 PM
OLIVER - Staff and students at a South Okanagan high school are being advised to get immunized following confirmation of two cases of meningococcal disease.
Two students attending South Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver have been diagnosed with the disease with a third case under investigation, Interior Health says in a news release issued this afternoon, Nov. 9.
Interior Health says all staff and students who attend the school should ensure they are immunized with the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine.
The vaccine has been made available to grade nine students at South Okanagan Secondary for the last two years. Anyone who has not received the vaccine does not have appropriate protection, Interior Health says.
Officials say vaccination is the most effective way to avoid spread of meningococcal disease, which can affect the lining around the brain. A rare disease in Canada, it is spread by direct contact with secretions of the nose and throat of infected or colonized people, or by respiratory droplets.
Symptoms include sudden high fever, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, rash, drowsiness or confusion, and seizures. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
"Although the risk of getting this disease is low, we are advising anyone who may have been exposed to take the precaution of getting immunized,” medical health officer Dr. Rakel Kling says in the release. “Meningococcal disease is a serious infection and immunization is a proven and safe means of preventing illness.”
Vaccination clinics will be held in Oliver at the South Okanagan Secondary School on Friday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the Oliver Health Centre on Saturday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. until noon.
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