Interior Health declares an end to the meningococcal disease outbreak
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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