Health officials with the Epidemiology Service of the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB) are reporting the first outbreak of meningococcal disease in the city in 30 years, according to a Redaccion Medica report last week (computer translated).


The two fatal cases, a 39-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman, were linked to a occupational center for disabled people in the Sants-Montjuïc district of Barcelona and died within a week of each other.

Joan Caylà, ASPB head noted the meningococcal disease manifested as sepsis with “a rapidly fatal evolution” by dying in less than 48 hours.

This is considered an outbreak because there are two people associated in time and space who have the same infection: the first case, which was detected on April 3, is that of a man who presented with benign symptoms, but it evolved fatal in a few hours, and the second case presented symptoms on April 10 and it was found that it had meningococcal serogroup C.

In the first case the serogroup could not be identified, but Public Health believes that it is “highly probable” that it also had type C, because the two affected shared many hours in the occupational center.

Neither was vaccinated with C meningitis because it is a vaccine that was introduced into the public vaccination schedule in 2000 and is currently given at four months, twelve months and twelve years. “We have to get the children to get vaccinated from the systematic vaccines to get very high coverage to avoid cases and sequelae,” said Caylà.

Public Health has already administered chemoprophylaxis to 25 people from the affected -families and colleagues of the center- and plans to give this preventive treatment to five other people as soon as possible.