Northern Health is encouraging youth in the region to get vaccinated for the meningococcal disease.
According to health experts, anyone between the ages of 15 and 19 years old who are traveling to the Okanagan for a period of three weeks or more should get the shot.
“The recommendations have been made by the BC Centre for Disease Control and so Northern Health along with all the other health authorities in the province are implementing those recommendations and making the vaccine available to those, the potentially at-risk youth,” says Eryn Collins, Northern Health spokesperson.
“We encourage everyone to ensure that their immunizations are up-to-date if they are not anyone who may be traveling to the Okanagan for 3 weeks or more over the next few months they can contact your local health unit to make an appointment to receive the vaccine.”
Meningococcal vaccinations according to Northern Health have been a regular part of the students’ immunization schedule since last year.
An outbreak of meningococcal disease was declared by Interior Health last week after 11 cases were identified with the majority of them occurring in the Okanagan.
“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
“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.
(With files from Brendan Pawliw with MYPRINCEGEORGENOW and Interior Health)