February 14, 2018 2:36 pm
Updated: February 14, 2018 5:43 pm

Interior Health declares an end to the meningococcal disease outbreak

A student in Oliver is vaccinated for meningococcal disease.

Global News/File Photo

Interior Health is declaring an end to the meningococcal outbreak in the Okanagan.

The health authority said there has been an uptake for immunizations and no additional cases since Dec. 28, 2017.

READ MORE: Okanagan residents aged 18-19 urged to get meningococcal disease immunizations

IHA said over 14,000 Okanagan residents aged 15-19 are now protected against meningococcal disease, of which 11,417 immunizations were administered as part of the outbreak.

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“The Office of the Provincial Health Officer and BC Centre for Disease Control have been working closely with Interior Health since the start of the outbreak,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry Provincial Health Officer. “We commend Interior Health’s efforts and collaboration with local communities to expand immunization which played a critical role in preventing the spread of this devastating disease and ending the outbreak.”

READ MORE: Interior Health declares meningococcal outbreak; offers mass vaccinations

From late September to November 2017, three cases of meningococcal disease were identified in the Oliver area, prompting Interior Health to take public health action by offering free immunizations at Oliver Secondary School.

This was later expanded to individuals up to age 24 in the Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos areas.

On December 14, after five cases were confirmed in the Okanagan, Interior Health declared an Okanagan-wide meningitis outbreak affecting 15-19 year olds.

READ MORE: Thousands of Okanagan teens get meningococcal vaccine

The outbreak declaration was immediately followed by a mass immunization campaign for all Okanagan residents in the age group.

In October, 19-year-old Aidan Pratt of Oliver died. Health officials confirmed post mortem that he had meningitis but his cause of death is still under investigation as there were other underlying health issues.

WATCH BELOW: ‘My son died needlessly’: Grieving Okanagan father of meningitis victim demands answers

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