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Increase in Cases of Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Manitoba

The Manitoba government has issued a public alert regarding a rise in invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) cases and a virus linked to strep throat over the past month.

A recent bulletin highlighted that Manitoba has recorded eight cases of IMD in the last month, surpassing the average annual report of six cases. Of these, six cases were in adults, and two in children. Most of the affected individuals reside in Winnipeg, with one each in the Northern Health Region and Prairie Mountain Health Region. Currently, no connections between the cases have been established.

The infections typically manifest as meningitis or bloodstream infections, with symptoms including a dark purple rash, high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, stomach upset, and intense aches or pains. Approximately 10% of these cases can be fatal or lead to severe consequences like amputations, necessitating prompt treatment with antibiotics and other relevant medical care.

Additionally, there has been a rise in invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections. While iGAS often results in mild illnesses like strep throat, it can become life-threatening if it spreads to uncommon areas such as the blood or lungs. Severe manifestations include necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, or meningitis, requiring antibiotic treatment.

Although there is no current outbreak, Manitoba reported a post-pandemic increase in iGAS cases, a trend observed in other regions, with 200 cases in 2023. Severe infections are often linked to a wider spread of respiratory viruses. The government advises residents to stay updated with vaccinations to lower the risk of serious infections.

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