An individual who contracted meningococcal disease has died in B.C.'s South Okanagan.
Interior Health says the cause of death has not been confirmed and there are no details about the identity, age or gender of the victim.
Meningitis is an infection around the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. It is contagious and usually spreads through close contact between individuals through coughing, sneezing and kissing, or sharing cups and straws, a toothbrush or a cigarette.
"This disease can be very serious and can be life threatening," said Dr. Sue Pollock, a medical health officer.
- Vaccines urged after meningitis-causing disease diagnosed at Okanagan high school
- Health warning about severe meningitis at Okanagan high school
Pollock says those aged 15-19 are the most susceptible to the disease.
If your child is aged 15-19 and received the #meningococcal vaccine in grade 9, they are protected. For more information about #meningococcal disease, please call 1-855-802-9944 or visit https://t.co/iY6WxgvcFi— @Interior_Health
Interior Health is encouraging individuals between the ages of 15-19 who haven't been immunized for meningococcal to attend special clinics.
They will be offered Dec. 18-19 on UBC's Okanagan campus.
The authority says the vaccine has been offered to Grade 9 students in B.C. since 2016, as part of the routine immunization program. Those who have already received the vaccine don't need to be re-immunized.
Elia Katz, 17, attended a clinic Sunday in Kelowna to get immunized with his twin sister.
"We heard about all these scary stories of kids getting sick in B.C. and we just thought that we should get immunized to not let that happen to us."
People with symptoms including sudden fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting should seek medical attention, according to health officials.
There have been 11 confirmed cases of the infection in the southern Interior this year. One teen from the Vernon area was hospitalized with serious symptoms
Pollock says health officials have immunized nearly 2000 individuals in the affected age group.
An earlier version of this story said there have been 11 confirmed cases of the infection in the Okanagan this year. In fact, there have been 11 confirmed cases throughout the southern Interior.Dec 18, 2017 12:26 PM PT