Vaccine offered to bar customers after one dies from meningitis C

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meningitisCANADA - Health officials in Toronto are issuing a warning to patrons of a particular bar after one customer died of meningitis C a few days after visiting the bar. The deceased, whose identity has not been revealed was a 23 year old man who present at the gay Crews & Tango Bar, at 508 Church St., on Nov. 17 and 18. Toronto Public Health is concerned that he might have spread the infection to any of the estimated 300 to 500 other customers present through sharing drinks, cigarettes or kissing.

Although his identity remains in the dark, a friend told the Toronto Times on condition of anonymity that the gay man was originally from St. Lucia. His relatives were immediately informed and offered vaccination. In fact, Toronto Public Health announced in a press conference that any patron of the bar who was present on those two days can – and must – get a free vaccine at the 519 Church Street Community Center between 3 and 7 pm today.
Meningitis C though not a very common disease, can get dangerous, even fatal. Spread mainly through contact with body fluids such as saliva, it kills 10 to 15% of people who get infected. Another 20% usually suffer from chronic health challenges such as mental retardation and deafness, Even those who apparently show no effects, carry the virus and can spread it to others. Symptoms to watch out for include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, a stiff neck and extreme sensitivity to light.

When vaccinated against it, not only does the body become immune to it, but the infection is prevented from being spread to others. The infection, spread by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis occurs usually among infants, children or young adults – chances of contracting it as one grows older diminish, though cannot be negated altogether. Toronto sees an average of 16 meningitis cases yearly, of which around 5 are of the meningitis C variety. However, last year there were no reported instances of meningitis C.