Expert: adolescents at higher risk of meningitis



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CTV Montreal

Published Monday, March 25, 2019 20:35 EDT

Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 20:58 EDT

The death of an 18-year-old Montreal CEGEP student clarified the risks of contracting meningitis and bacterial meningococcal infections.

She died on Saturday after contracting a bacterial meningococcal infection in the bloodstream.

There is a difference between a meningococcal infection and meningitis.

During an infection, the bacteria spread to the bloodstream, while meningitis is when the bacteria spread to the brain.

There are two vaccines to prevent the spread of bacteria.

"The problem is we do not know how long the immunity lasts after the vaccine," said Dr. Earl Rubin, infectious disease specialist at MUHC. "By doing this at four or five years of age without being at high risk, I do not know if you will still be protected during the most risky period."

He said changes in lifestyle, such as living in a university residence, increase the risk of contracting bacteria, which can spread in many ways.

"By sharing cigarettes and other things that come into their mouths and share secretions, teens run a greater risk because of this," he said.

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