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Toronto Public Health reports one death after meningococcal disease outbreak


Toronto Public Health is reporting a meningococcal disease outbreak in the city that has left one person dead.

The city’s public health unit says it has confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease in three individuals between 20 and 30 years old who began experiencing symptoms between July 15 and 17.

It says all the affected individuals were born outside of Canada in countries that don’t provide childhood immunization against the disease.

Toronto Public Health says it has not been able to identify a link between the cases, but all three individuals have recently been confirmed to have the same rare strain of serogroup C meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease refers to illnesses caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitides, which are often severe, can be deadly and can cause meningitis and infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord and bloodstream.

Early symptoms include fever, aches, joint pain, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and can often be similar to signs of flu and other viral infections, making it difficult to diagnose.

Meningococcal bacteria is spread by sharing respiratory and throat fluids, typically through close contact like kissing, coughing, sharing utensils, cups, cigarettes and musical instruments.

The health unit is recommending all adults between 20 and 36 years old who have not received a meningococcal disease vaccine to contact their health provider to receive one as soon as possible.


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