Invasive Meningococcal Disease
Immunization and Vaccine Preventable Diseases
To obtain or inquire about an immunization record for yourself or your child, please contact your local public health unit.
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis and is primarily transmitted by direct contact or respiratory droplet spread by people who are ill or are carriers of the bacteria.
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease that is characterized by meningococcemia (blood stream infection), meningitis (swelling of tissues surrounding the brain) or both. Among people who get ill with IMD, between 8% and 15% die and among those who survive, 10% to 20% can develop complications such as hearing impairment, limb amputation, skin scarring and intellectual disability. The disease is rare and primarily affects young children, and adolescents, but can affect persons of any age.
N. meningitidis is classified into serogroups or strains; almost all disease is associated with serogroups A, B, C, Y and W-135, although serogroup A is rare in Canada. Ontario’s publicly funded program includes a vaccine against serogroup C for one-year-olds, as well as a school-based program for grade seven students with one vaccine that protects against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. Also, a vaccine against serogroup B is licensed in Canada and is publicly funded in Ontario for high risk children. Ontario has seen a decrease in IMD occurrence since the introduction of publicly-funded vaccination programs.