On June 23, 2022, the CDC said there were seven deaths and 26 cases of meningococcal disease during the investigation. Among these cases, six deaths and 24 infections were seen in men who have had sex with other men. It also added that the outbreak of the disease is mainly affecting gays, bisexuals and other men who have engaged in sexual activities with other men. In addition, the disease is also common in people with HIV.
According to the latest data, about half the incidence of meningococcal disease is found among Hispanic men living in Florida or who have traveled to the state.
Meningococcal disease includes meningitis and infections in the bloodstream. While meningitis infects the spinal cord and brain wall, a bloodstream infection can affect the entire body. As such, the disease can affect anyone and be fatal.
The disease spreads when secretions from the airways or throat, such as the spit or saliva, are shared. The bacteria spreads through proximal and prolonged contact between people, such as when kissing or coughing.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include headache, fever, stiff neck, vomiting or nausea, or a purple rash. According to the CDC, early symptoms resemble the flu. Over time, however, they become serious. Therefore, consult a medical professional immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
CDC is urging potential victims to get the meningococcal vaccine to observe safety. For travelers, a consultation with their doctor is recommended. For those who have HIV, routine vaccinations are a must. The vaccine is available at local pharmacy, doctor’s offices, local health departments and health centers. The insurance coverage would cover the cost of such a vaccine. In addition, people in Florida can even opt for the free vaccine at the county health department.
The outbreak of meningococcal disease comes on the heels of the monkeypox virus and is causing great concern in several countries, including the US. According to CDC reports, there are 142 reported cases of the orthopox virus in the US, including 13 in Florida. CDC also stated that while the threat to the general population is not very great, the risk increases if you have been in close contact with someone who suffers from monkey pox.
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