Oxford County Public Health is following up on a reported case of Meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal is a serious disease and symptoms can come on very quickly. The bacterium that causes meningococcal disease is carried in the mouth and throat. It can spread when people share things like cigarettes, drinks, food or other objects that have been in someone else’s mouth.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include:
Residents are reminded not to share anything that has been in their mouth and to wash their hands to prevent the spread of infections.
- a severe headache
- high fever
- sensitivity to bright lights
- neck stiffness and joint pains
- confusion or coma
- a red-purple, pin-point rash or bruises anywhere on the body
If residents are experiencing symptoms of meningococcal disease, they are urged to seek medical advice from their family physician or their local emergency room as symptoms can come on very quickly.
Vaccinations are available for some strains of this disease. Contact Oxford County Public Health at 519-539-9800 ext 3500 or toll-free 1-800-755-0394 ext 3500 for more information.
- Meningococcal disease consists of two conditions: meningitis (an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and meningococcemia (an infection of the blood stream). It is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis.
- There are several different types or “serogroups” of meningococcal bacteria. The most common type in Canada is serogroup B, followed by serogroups C and Y. There are vaccines against serogroup C which have been used routinely since 2005 and a vaccine against serogroups A, C, Y and W135 which has been used for Grade 7 students since September 2009. There is no vaccine against serogroup B available in Canada.
- The germ that causes meningococcal disease lives naturally in the back of the nose and throat.
- Up to 10 per cent of the general public carries this germ at any given time. However, most will never develop meningococcal disease. Household contacts, those who share sleeping arrangements and children in daycare with an ill individual are at increased risk of infection.
- Meningococcal disease is spread through saliva (spit) of an infected person when sharing items such as cigarettes, lipstick, food or beverages: unwashed cups or utensils, water bottles, cans, drinking straws, toothbrushes, mouth guards, unwashed musical instruments with mouthpieces or kissing on the mouth.
Communications & New Media Specialist
519-539-9800, ext 3505