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Crook County Confirms Sixth Meningitis Case

PRINEVILLE, Ore. — An older teen out of high school was confirmed Monday as Crook County’s sixth case of meningococcal disease in the past 10 months.

The most recent case was diagnosed over the weekend, said Karen Yeargain, Crook County’s communicable diease coordinator.

“Of these cases, three were type C and one was Y;” Yeargain said in a news release late Monday, adding that “both of these serogroups are vaccine-preventable.”

“We are waiting to hear back on the serotypes of the two most recent cases and will use that information to determine if additional steps may be helpful in avoiding further infections,” Yeargain added.

Yeargain said the two cases in the past week are an infant less than 6 months old — who was discharged from the hospital Monday – and the older teen who has already graduated from high school. Close contacts of the individuals have been notified and preventive antibiotics have been recommended to decrease the chance of developing the illness and transmission to others, she said.

“We are working with the Oregon Public Health Division to investigate these cases, and will follow any CDC recommendations for keep the county safe,” Yeargain said.

“To determine if the cases are potentially linked as part of a cluster, the bacteria are serogrouped. Of the six cases since last March, three were type C and one was Y; (and) both of these serogroups are vaccine-preventable. We are waiting to hear back on the serogroup of the two most recent cases and will proceed when we know more.”

“We encourage parents to be sure their children ages 11 through 18 receive the meningococcal vaccine, which are the current recommendations,” Yeargan said. “These recommendations may be expanded when we have results of all serogrouping to determine if the cases are part of a cluster.”

Despite some concerns otherwise, Yeargain told KTVZ.COM, “There is actually plenty of vaccine available in the county.”

“Since we have not yet been declared an ‘outbreak,’ there is no state-supplied (ie. lower cost) vaccine for people outside of the routine age groups,” she wrote.

“However, our major medical clinic and three Prineville pharmacies do have meningococcal vaccine on hand and are able to administer it to persons wanting the protection. Some insurance plans will cover it, some won’t. For those without insurance coverage for the vaccine, they will need to pay ‘out of pocket.’ Costs range from about $160-$200 per dose, depending on where you access it.”

“We haven’t found a common link in the cases,” she added. “It is actually uncommon to be able to track a specific ‘source’ on these cases where there is no apparent link between them. The ‘Y’ serogroup case we had last year was linked to a known case in another count — that is about the only time we get to put the dots together.”

Yeargain also stressed that “this still remains a Prineville-area concern and does not involve Deschutes or Jefferson counties. Health departments in those areas are also not able to do meningococcal vaccine outside of the usual recommendations. Some Bend and Redmond area physicians are offering meningococcal vaccine to their Prineville area patients on the same insurance or out-of-pocket basis as the Prineville providers.”