Health alert expands

Interior Health is expanding its immunization program for meningococcal disease in the South Okanagan after learning of a third case in the area.

Anyone aged 15 to 24 in Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls is being offered the vaccine free of charge at the Oliver health centre.

Last week, IH initially urged students of South Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver to get vaccinated after two cases were confirmed in students.

“IH is taking this precautionary measure after becoming aware of a third individual in the community who contracted meningococcal disease in early October,” a news release states.

“This is not a new case and there is no indication of sustained transmission of the bacteria in the community. This individual did not attend South Okanagan Secondary, but had social linkages to the school.

Risk remains low, but those aged 15-24 are urged to get immunized because meningococcal disease is reported more frequently among the age group.

People are also reminded to avoid sharing water bottles or cigarettes and to frequently wash their hands.

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that occurs rarely in Canada. It can affect lining around the brain and blood, with the potential to be deadly.

Immunization clinics are being hosted by IH at the Oliver Health on Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.

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