New case of meningococcal

Interior Health has confirmed another case of meningococcal disease — this time in the Thompson-Cariboo region. 

While this most recent case is outside of the Okanagan region, Dr. Trevor Corneil, vice president of population health and chief medical health officer, says that the health authority is following up.

"We can confirm that this is the same strain as in the Okanagan, but we are still exploring whether or not there is a connection," Dr. Corneil said.

“Whenever we identify a new case, we actively follow up with anyone who has been in close contact with that individual, and we provide them with antibacterial prophylactics if necessary.”

In December, IH declared an outbreak of meningococcal disease in the Okanagan due to an increasing number of cases in the region.

"The decision to declare an outbreak is based on similarities like age or geography or time and place," explained Dr. Corneil.

The authority urged anyone aged 15-19-year-olds to get vaccinated. So far, 12,680 individuals in the Okanagan have been immunized, which is 59.7 per cent of the target population.

The individual in the latest case is outside the targeted population.

"Regardless of similarities or connections or not, we are still urging individuals in the targeted group in the Okanagan to get vaccinated," said Dr. Corneil.

"All individuals should continue to practice good personal hygiene by not sharing cigarettes, utensils or water bottles, by coughing into elbows or sleeves, and by frequently washing their hands to help reduce the spread of this disease."

Immunizations have been offered at public health centres and more recently at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations throughout the Okanagan.

Vaccination clinics are still being offered throughout the Okanagan. To see a full list of where to obtain the Meningococcal Quadrivalent vaccine, visit interiorhealth.ca.

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