News Release
June 7, 2024

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is reporting an increase in invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) cases. To date this year, 13 cases have been reported, which is higher than total cases seen in any year since 2002. Of those, two have been fatal.

IMD is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that can progress suddenly. Several countries, including the United States, are reporting increases in cases of IMD this year. Cases are occurring among both those who have and have not travelled outside of Canada. IMD can affect people of any age, however, it is most common in children under five years old, teens and young adults who are not vaccinated against the disease.

Outbreaks can occur during mass gatherings and cases can occur during travel. TPH is recommending that travellers ensure they are protected with meningococcal vaccination, including those travelling to Hajj – an annual pilgrimage from June 14 to 19, that draws approximately two million people to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Vaccination is also recommended for individuals participating in local and international Pride events.

Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against IMD. Adults between 18 and 36 years old who have not received a meningococcal vaccine are eligible for a publicly funded immunization. Individuals are strongly recommended to contact their health care provider to receive a meningococcal vaccine as soon as possible.

Parents, guardians and caregivers should ensure children are vaccinated against IMD. The vaccine is typically given at 12 months and in grade seven and is required under Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). Students who have missed the vaccine can receive it for free from a TPH vaccination clinic. Appointments can be booked at

Invasive meningococcal disease

IMD is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides. These illnesses are often severe and can be deadly. They can include infections in the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream. People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close or prolonged contact to spread these bacteria.

Symptoms typically begin with:

  • fever
  • aches
  • joint pain
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • increased sensitivity to light

If you are experiencing these symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention. Visit for more information.

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Toronto Public Health Media Relations