A new outbreak of meningitis has so far killed 10 people in Oslo, according to the Norwegian Medicines Agency. Experts said the vast majority of the people affected had attended a Christmas party in the city over the weekend, when five outbreaks of the disease were reported.
Three of the victims were members of the same family and all were in the same 20-year-old age range. A man from the same family had initially visited a hospital for testing and was found to have contracted the disease after coming back to the party, but authorities initially claimed he was a confirmed case. Soon after, however, another relative who was also in that age range tested positive.
Meningitis bacteria comes in various stages, and until now have mostly been limited to South Africa. The Norwegian outbreak follows a similar outbreak in London in 2018, when one of the city’s biggest parties, Glastonbury Festival, was plagued by the disease. The U.K. government says that, of the 4,551 cases it tracked over 2017, more than 3,000 people died, with many of those cases accounted for by Glastonbury. However, the results of this latest outbreak could not yet be determined, and medics said the number of confirmed cases could rise further.
Norway’s official website describes meningitis as an inflammation of the thin lining of the brain and spinal cord. People can get it if they have the bacteria meningococcus A, meningococcus B or streptococcus aureus, which can cause a variety of illnesses. A study released last year showed that there are 1.3 million people infected every year in the United States.
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