Volume 95, Issue 1
Thursday, May 24, 2001
Meningococcal: "This is not an epidemic"
Those squeamish about getting their shot now have more reason to overcome their fears.
The latest meningococcal disease outbreak brings the total number of cases since Feb. 24 in London to seven.
"This is clear evidence at this time that the organism is continuing to circulate in our community," said Graham Pollett, medical officer of health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
On May 14, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported a seventh case of meningococcal disease, diagnosed in a 10-year-old boy who attends Ryerson Public School.
According to Jeanette Johnston, the principal of Ryerson Public School, the same day the boy was diagnosed, the students at Ryerson were scheduled for their mass immunization for meningococcal disease.
"The timing was excellent because many students participated in the vaccination program that day," Johnston said, adding that accordingly, "everyone took the information very calmly."
Johnston said that there were only a couple of students who had to take further precautions due to their close contact with the infected student.
Despite this latest diagnosis, Pollett was encouraged by the recent figures of the number of completed vaccinations in London.
"We are three-quarters of the way there. As of Monday, 66,334 people have been immunized," Pollett said, adding their goal was 70,000.
Pollett stressed clinics end today, May 24, but if people have not received their vaccines, they can get them at the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
Pollett explained those from the ages of 0-24 were immunized because they are commonly at highest risk. "The older we get, the more likely we are to build natural immunity," Pollett said.
Tom Macfarlane, director of Student Health Services, stated no further treatment is required after immunization. "You've pretty well done everything you can," he said, adding the vaccinations have helped by shrinking the size of the potential pool of infection.
"This is not by any stretch an epidemic," Macfarlane said. "The London
Health Unit is to be commended for the magnitude and the aggressiveness
of their immunization program."
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