Rare strain of meningitis fells boy, 15; Publicly-funded vaccine didn't cover variant bacteria

The Vancouver Province
Fri 27 Apr 2007
Page: A15
Section: News
Byline: Matthew Ramsey
Source: The Province

Health officials have confirmed that a 15-year-old Coquitlam boy died from a strain of meningococcal bacteria not covered by the publicly-funded vaccine.

Brodie Campbell, a student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary, died from meningitis Tuesday at Royal Columbian Hospital just days after he fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

It's not known how the lacrosse and rugby player contracted the bacterial infection.

The Fraser Health Authority was able to confirm yesterday that Brodie died from the Y-strain of the bacteria, an exceptionally rare variant that affects about one in a million people and leads to about one death in this province every two or three years.

The publicly-funded vaccine program in B.C. protects against the C-strain of the bacteria, the most common variant.

Roy Wadia of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said there is a vaccine that protects against the Y-strain, but it is not approved for publicly-funded inoculation programs here.

The Menactra vaccine has been on the market for less than a year, Wadia said, and is considerably more expensive than the vaccine currently supplied. Menactra protects recipients against strains A, C, Y and W-135 of the bacteria. There is no vaccine available for the B-strain.

Menactra is currently being reviewed by a national committee with a recommendation expected soon. The drug is also being reviewed provincially.

Brodie's family has been given the Menactra vaccine and approximately 60 staff and students at Dr. Charles Best will get shots today.

The family has asked for privacy.

As of last night, no further infections were evident among those who spent time with the teenager in the days leading up to his death.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, severe headache, fever and skin rashes.


Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 282 words



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