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An expert: Adolescents with a greater risk of meningitis

CTV Montreal

Posted Monday, March 25 2019 20:35 EDT

Last Updated on Monday, March 25, 2019 20:58 EDT

The death of an 18-year-old CEGEP student in Montreal illuminated the risks of meningitis and bacterial meningococcal infections.

She died on Saturday after a bacterial meningococcal infection in the bloodstream.

There is a difference between meningococcal infection and meningitis.

During infection, bacteria spread to the bloodstream, while meningitis is when the bacterium spreads to the brain.

There are two vaccines to prevent the spread of bacteria.

"The problem is we do not know how long the immunity takes after the vaccine," said Dr. Earl Rubin, a specialist in infectious diseases in MUHC. "Do this at four or five years, and not to be in a high risk situation, I do not know if it will still be protected at a time of increased risk."

He said changes in lifestyle like staying at a university increase the risk of getting bacteria that can spread in different ways.

"Sharing cigarettes and other things in your mouth and sharing your secret, teenagers are at a higher risk for that," he said.

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