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Meningococcal disease among Scouts attending the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan

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​​50 participants from British Columbia have been alerted by Scouts Canada about the occurrence of a serious infection among a small number of attendees of this event, which took place July 28 to August 8, 2015, and about the signs/symptoms of invasive meningococcal disease. 

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has been informed by the Public Health Agency of Canada that up to 7 participants from other countries, including 4 from Scotland and potentially 3 cases (1 confirmed) from Sweden, were diagnosed with this infection with the earliest date of illness on August 8th, the last day of the Jamboree. All but two were teen participants; one was a parent and one a young adult scout leader. No reported cases have been identified among Canadian participants. The Jamboree is designed for 14-17 year old Scouts, and this year, more than 33,000 people from 162 countries attended the event.

Participants and their families should be on alert for potential symptoms of meningitis. Common symptoms of meningitis include neck stiffness, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headache, vomiting and a purple rash. Those who develop such symptoms after participation at this event should seek medical attention quickly as treatment in hospital with antibiotics is required

Those who are close contacts of a case of the disease by means such as kissing, sharing of drinks, utensils or sleeping arrangements, are advised to receive antibiotic preventive treatment within 10 days of their contact, and offered the vaccine. 

Meningococcal disease is very rare. The type that has been identified in this outbreak is serogroup W, of which an average of one case is reported each year in BC. Since 2001, 16 cases have been reported in BC and no deaths.

The BC immunization program provides protection against serogroup C meningococcal disease through vaccination given in infancy and grade 6. Protection against serogroup W is available through private purchase of quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines available through travel clinics and pharmacies, and is mainly used prior to travel to parts of the world where meningococcal disease is more common.

More information about meningococcal disease and vaccination is available at the following link:​

​ Meningococcal quadrivalent vaccines:




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