Meningococcal Infection

Important Information on Meningococcal Infection

For any further information on Meningococcal Infection, or other communicable diseases, contact your community health nurse or nearest public health unit.

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Click on or call 8-1-1 for non-emergency health information and services in BC.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

What is meningococcal infection?

Meningococcal infection is caused by bacteria. Meningococcal infection due to types A, C, Y and W-135 is very rare in B.C. Since 2009 there have been less than 10 cases per year. Although rare, it can cause serious and life-threatening infections including meningitis, an infection of the lining that covers the brain, and septicemia, an infection of the blood. For every 100 people who get sick, up to 15 will die, even if they receive treatment. Permanent complications of infection include brain damage, deafness, and loss of limbs. For information about bacterial meningitis go to: HealthlinkBC Meningitis

Meningococcal infection is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through saliva. This can occur through activities such as kissing or sharing of food, drinks, cigarettes, lipsticks, water bottles, mouth guards used for sports, or mouthpieces of musical instruments.

What is the Men-C vaccine?

The Men-C vaccine protects against infection from one of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria, type C. The vaccine is approved by Health Canada.

The Men-C vaccine is provided free as part of your child's routine immunizations at 2 and 12 months of age. Call your health care provider to make an appointment. For more information, go to: Meningococcal C Conjugate (Men-C) Vaccine (#23a)

What are meningococcal quadrivalent vaccines?

Meningococcal quadrivalent vaccines protect against 4 types of meningococcal bacteria: types A, C, Y and W-135. The vaccines are either polysaccharide or conjugate vaccines. While both types of vaccines are approved by Health Canada, the conjugate vaccines are used in B.C. because they provide longer lasting protection against disease. The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine is provided free as part of your child's routine immunizations in grade 9. Call your health care provider to make an appointment. For more information go to Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccines (#23b)

To learn more about meningococcal disease your area, visit our partner websites below:

Fraser Health

Interior Health

Island Health

Northern Health

Vancouver Coastal

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. They provide provincial and national leadership in public health through surveillance, detection, prevention and consultation. They also provide direct diagnostic and treatment services to people with diseases that may affect the health of the public. To learn more about meningococcal infection, go to: BCCDC

Immunize BC

ImmunizeBC works to improve the health of British Columbians and reduce the number of infections by vaccine-preventable diseases by providing information on immunizations to individuals and families. Immunization can save lives. To learn more about meningococcal infection, go to: Immunize BC