Four cases of meningococcal infection have been observed in young adults aged 19 to 33, in Strasbourg, since the beginning of November. As the disease (meningitis) is notifiable, the health authorities have implemented a well-defined health protocol. It goes through a tracking survey: ARS specialists questioned infected people about their schedule, the people and places they frequent. Once the various contacts have been identified, they must be protected and treated with antibiotic therapy.
After a first case in early November, a second has been identified. Health authorities were able to cross-check with the first case and find that the two people had frequented the same nightlife spot. A third case then a fourth presented this similarity: frequenting a festive place, in particular the LiveClub nightclub, rue du Miroir in Strasbourg, but other places are also concerned.
To date, one of these four people, among the first two cases identified, has died. The ARS does not give more details on this death. The other three people had antibiotic treatment which has now ended. There are no more sick people.
Meningococcus is transmitted through the air or through saliva. It is much less contagious than the Covid virus, says Dr Lydie Revol, of the ARS. However, this series of cases shows that the barrier measures to which the Covid has accustomed us are effective for other pathologies.
Watch for symptoms that suggest the disease
Meningococcus is present in “a large part of the population”, explains the ARS doctor. There are many healthy carriers, who show no symptoms. But this or these healthy carriers, possibly at the origin of these four symptomatic cases in Strasbourg, may regularly frequent festive places. This is why the ARS invites people who also go out in these places, in this sector of downtown Strasbourg, to be vigilant and to “monitor the symptoms suggestive of the disease”. They are invited to contact the 15 in case of doubt. As a reminder, these symptoms are violent headaches, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, body aches, fatigue, fever; red or purplish subcutaneous spots on the body, very severe pain in the stomach, even nausea and/or vomiting.
“All people must be careful, especially those who are used to going out in the evening”, underlines the ARS, without wanting to fuel a psychosis. “The objective is to alert, to educate”, says Dr. Revol.
The four people infected, including the one who died, were carriers of the same strain. Most often meningococci do not cause any particular disease. But, in some cases, they can cause very serious illnesses such as meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) or septicemia.