Meningococcal disease has been confirmed in two students attending South Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver, and a potential third case is being investigated.
As a result, Interior Health is advising all students and staff who attend or work at the school to ensure they are immunized with the Meningococcal Quadrivalent vaccine (Men-C-ACYW-135). This vaccine has been offered to Grade 9 students at this school for the last two years. Anyone who has not received this vaccine would not have appropriate protection.
“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,” said Dr. Rakel Kling, a medical health officer with Interior Health. “Meningococcal Disease is a serious infection and immunization is a proven and safe means of preventing illness.”
Meningococcal Disease is a bacterial infection that can affect the meninges (lining around the brain) and/or blood that occurs very rarely in Canada. Transmission is by direct contact with the secretions of the nose and throat of infected or colonized individuals, or by respiratory droplets Symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, rash, drowsiness or confusion and seizures. Interior Health said vaccination against Meningococcal Disease remains the most effective way to avoid the spread of the disease.
Interior Health will be providing vaccination clinics in Oliver. Please bring your personal immunization records and BC Services card/Care Card to the clinic. Immunization clinics take place in Oliver at the South Okanagan Secondary School on Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Oliver Health Centre on Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Interior Health advises that individuals who present symptoms like fever, headache, stiff neck, or vomiting to seek medical attention immediately. Please do not visit local hospitals to obtain a vaccine, but attend one of the IH-offered clinics noted above.
For additional information about Meningococcal Disease, visit HealthLinkBC.