DENVER, June 30 (UPI) — Colorado health officials are calling for more vaccinations following an outbreak of meningococcal disease that has killed three people and infected two others.
Joni Reynolds, director of immunization for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the deaths of two Fort Collins men this month, and the April death of a Metropolitan State College of Denver student may have been prevented, had the men been vaccinated, The Denver Post reported.
State health officials said Tuesday people ages 11 to 18 and people in communal-living situations such as college dorms or members of the military are at higher risk for the disease and should be vaccinated.
“The vaccine has not historically been pushed by pediatricians and the medical community, compared to traditional immunization, such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough,” said Steve Monaco, director of health services for the Metropolitan State College of Denver, Auraria, campus.
Meningococcal disease can occur as either viral or bacterial. The bacterial form is more severe and can develop into meningitis, an infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord; pneumonia, an infection of the lung; or sepsis, an infection of the blood.
The Colorado health department says coughing and kissing are common ways of spreading the disease, as well as any type of direct contact with mouth and nasal fluid, the Post reported.
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