Since Health Canada’s recent approval of the new vaccine to prevent Meningococcal Serogroup B (MenB), the Victoria Travel Clinic is pleased to announce that we can now provide this vaccine to our customers! Please call ahead of time so that we may ensure adequate stock and book an appointment, if necessary.
Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm
What is meningococcal disease?
It is a disease caused by the bacteria N. meningitidis which colonizes and lives in the nasal passages and upper respiratory airways. Direct contact with nasal or oral secretions, or inhalation of these droplets may spread the infection to others. There are several serogroups, but most cases of meningococcal disease are caused by serogroups A, B, C, W and Y.
It is possible for the bacteria to spread to the lower respiratory tract where it can find it’s way into the bloodstream. If this happens, it can cause systemic infection or localized infection in other parts of the body. In 50% of individuals who have meningococcal blood infection, it crosses into the brain and causes infection there. This is called meningitis. Bacterial meningitis acts swiftly and can bring its victims close to death within 24 hours.
Who does it affect?
MenB is the most common type of meningitis in Canada, usually affecting infants, toddlers (younger than 5), and adolescents (15-19 years).
What does meningococcal disease look like?
It can cause death within 24-48 hours, and early symptoms often resemble the flu, making misdiagnosis common when it is assessed in it’s early stages. It may show up as sudden onset of headache, fever, and stiffness of the neck, and is sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and altered mental status. (Infants are more difficult to diagnose with non-specific signs and without neck stiffness.)
Even with antibiotics, 9-12% of cases are fatal, with the rate increasing up to 40% in patients with meningococcal blood infection. Up to a third of pediatric survivors will have permanent long-term deficits (including deafness, impaired brain and kidney function, and impaired memory).
What can I do to prevent this disease?
With the introduction of pediatric meningococcal C programs beginning in 2001 in Canada, there has been a decline in the incidence of meningitis caused by serogroup C.
In comparison, from 2004 to 2007, there has been a progressive increase in the rates of serogroup B, making it the most common group to affect Canadians. This highlights the need for Canadians in high risk groups to protect themselves against MenB through vaccination.
There is now a vaccine called Bexsero that is available for children from 2 months to 17 years old. This is the first MenB vaccine available in Canada. Bexsero protects against serogroup B and is not part of routine immunizations in British Columbia. Please talk to your health care professional if you are interested in immunizing your child.
Are there any safety reasons not to get the vaccine?
This vaccine has been through clinical trials and has been shown to be safe to administer to children from 2 months to 17 years old. Most vaccine reactions that occur are mild to moderate in nature and resolve within 48 hours. Most common reactions are localized redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site, and fever.
People who have previously had an anaphylactic reaction to any of the vaccine components should not receive the vaccine. However, anaphylaxis to current vaccines is very rare and is estimated to occur in one in a million doses given.
Where can I get my children immunized?
The Victoria Travel Clinic provides Bexsero vaccination. Please contact our clinic for more information or to order the vaccines for administration.
**Please see our Vaccine Price-list for more information on costs/pricing**