Toronto: Meningococcal disease outbreak affects three, one fatality
Three confirmed cases of invasive bacterial meningococcal disease have been reported in Toronto, according to Toronto Public Health (TPH).
The three affected individuals between 20 and 30 years old began experiencing symptoms between July 15 and July 17 and were born outside of Canada in countries not providing childhood immunization against meningococcal disease. One of the individuals has died.
TPH has not been able to identify a link between these cases. All three individuals have recently been confirmed to have the same rare serogroup C meningococcal disease strain.
Adults between 20 and 36 years old who have not received a meningococcal disease vaccine are strongly recommended to contact their health care provider to receive a meningococcal disease vaccine as soon as possible. TPH will monitor vaccine demand and is actively exploring additional vaccination channels.
Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. These illnesses are often severe, can be deadly, and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream. Symptoms begin with fever, aches, joint pain, headache, stiff neck and photophobia. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call your health care provider.
Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against meningococcal disease. People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close or lengthy contact to spread these bacteria.