Meningococcal Disease Outbreak: Gay and bisexual men urged to get vaccinated if living in Florida

0
90

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues its collaboration with the Florida Department of Health to investigate one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history. At least 24 cases and 6 deaths among gay and bisexual men have been reported.

In response to this outbreak, CDC is recommending gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men get a meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY) if they live in Florida, or talk with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated if they are traveling to Florida. CDC is also emphasizing the importance of routine MenACWY vaccination for people with HIV.  

“Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly,” said José R. Romero, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Because of the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it’s important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida talk to their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine.”  

People can find a meningococcal vaccine by contacting their doctor’s office, pharmacy, community health center, or local health department. Insurance providers should pay for meningococcal vaccination for those whom it is recommended for during an outbreak. In Florida, anyone can get a MenACWY vaccine at no cost at any county health department during the outbreak.  

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of meningococcal disease. Symptoms can appear suddenly and include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, or a dark purple rash. Symptoms can first appear as a flu-like illness, but typically worsen very quickly. People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close or lengthy contact, such as kissing or being near someone coughing, to spread these bacteria.   

Meningococcal disease can affect anyone and can be deadly and includes infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against meningococcal disease. 

Get Vaccinated

Meningococcal disease outbreak among men who have sex with men

In response to an ongoing outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal disease in Florida, CDC is encouraging gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men to:

  • Get a MenACWY vaccine if they live in Florida1
  • Talk with their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine if they are traveling to Florida

In addition, CDC is highlighting that MenACWY vaccination is routinely recommended for all people with HIV in the United States.2

Meningococcal disease cluster among college and university students

In response to a cluster of serogroup B meningococcal disease cases in Florida, officials are recommending the following groups of college and university students in Leon County, FL, consider getting a MenB vaccine series3:

  • College and university undergraduate students
  • Students living in on-campus housing
  • Those who participate in a fraternity or sorority

Find a meningococcal vaccine by contacting your

Meningococcal disease: Very serious, often deadly

The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infection, both of which can quickly become deadly. Three serogroups of meningococcal bacteria cause most meningococcal disease in the United States: B, C, and Y.

Serogroup C outbreak among men who have sex with men

There is a large, ongoing outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal disease in Florida, primarily among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV. Recent data show that about half of the cases associated with this outbreak are among Hispanic men. This outbreak is mostly affecting people who live in Florida but has also affected some people who have traveled to Florida.

MenACWY vaccination offers the best protection

In response to the serogroup C outbreak in Florida, CDC is encouraging gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (with or without HIV) to:

  • Get a MenACWY vaccine if they live in Florida
  • Talk with their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine if they are traveling to Florida

Ideally, people would get vaccinated with one dose (or the 2-dose series for people with HIV) at least 2 weeks before traveling. Learn more about what gay and bisexual men need to know about meningococcal disease outbreaks.

CDC is also emphasizing the importance of routine MenACWY vaccination for people with HIV. For the best protection, people with HIV should make sure they have gotten their 2-dose primary series of a MenACWY vaccine and are up to date with booster doses. Learn more about what people living with HIV need to know about meningococcal disease.

Serogroup B cluster among college and university students

Leon County, FL, also reports an unrelated serogroup B meningococcal disease cluster among college and university students. This cluster has only been reported to affect people living in Florida.

Serogroup B vaccination offers the best protection

In response to the serogroup B cluster in Florida, officials are recommending the following groups of college and university students in Leon County, FL, consider getting a MenB vaccine series:

  • College and university undergraduate students
  • Students living in on-campus housing
  • Those who participate in a fraternity or sorority

Signs and Symptoms

Seek medical attention immediately if you or your child develops symptoms of meningococcal disease. Symptoms of meningococcal disease can first appear as a flu-like illness and rapidly worsen.

The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis and septicemia. Both of these types of infections are very serious and can be deadly in a matter of hours.

Meningococcal meningitis

Doctors call meningitis caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis meningococcal meningitis. When someone has meningococcal meningitis, the bacteria infect the lining of the brain and spinal cord and cause swelling.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include fever, stiff neck, headache, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, and nausea and confusion.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck

There are often additional symptoms, such as

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
  • Altered mental status (confusion)

Newborns and babies may not have the classic symptoms listed above, or it may be difficult to notice those symptoms in babies. Instead, babies may be slow or inactive, irritable, vomiting, feeding poorly, or have a bulging anterior fontanelle (the soft spot of the skull). In young children, doctors may also look at the child’s reflexes for signs of meningitis.

alert icon

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, call the doctor right away.

Meningococcal septicemia (aka meningococcemia)

Doctors call septicemia (a bloodstream infection) caused by Neisseria meningitidis meningococcal septicemia or meningococcemia. When someone has meningococcal septicemia, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply, damaging the walls of the blood vessels. This causes bleeding into the skin and organs.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Vomiting
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or abdomen (belly)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • In the later stages, a dark purple rash

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Questo sito usa Akismet per ridurre lo spam. Scopri come i tuoi dati vengono elaborati.