Rare disease infects Kelowna student

School district sends out letter to parents notifying them of the Meningococcal Disease

A Kelowna high school student has been diagnosed with Meningococcal Disease.

A case of Meningococcal Disease has occurred in a high school student in Kelowna and has been confirmed by Interior Health.

The risk of transmission to the general school population related to this case is considered extremely low.

Even though the risk is low, Interior Health and Central Okanagan Public Schools have sent out notifications to parents to have information on the disease.

Meningococcal Disease is a bacterial infection of the brain and/or blood that occurs very rarely in Canada.

The Communicable Disease Unit follows up all individuals diagnosed with Meningococcal Disease and their close contacts to reduce the risk of spreading the disease to others.

Close contacts are people who have been in contact with the saliva (spit) of a person who is sick through things like kissing or sharing items like water bottles, cigarettes, joints, straws, e‐cigarettes, toothbrushes or any activity that involves “swapping spit.”

You cannot catch this disease by being in the same room as a person with this illness and talking with them. The close contacts of this case have been contacted. People who are sick with this disease may have some of the following:

  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Rash (purplish bruised look)
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Seizures

Although the risk of getting this disease is very low, anyone with the above symptoms should see their doctor immediately.For more information on meningitis please visit HealthLink BC.

If you have any further concerns or questions, please contact your local health unit.