CDC Issues Warning of Large Outbreak of Meningitis in Florida Among Gay, Bisexual & HIV Positive Men
In an official news release, The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned against a large outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida, many of the cases being that of gay, bisexual, and men who have relations with men, including those who have HIV. There have also been multiple cases in college students, though there is no evidence at this time that suggests those cases are related to the larger outbreak, according the CDC news release.
Meningococcal disease is better known as meningitis, which is one of the two most common meningococcal cases, the other being the bloodstream infection, both having the (possibility) of becoming very deadly if gone untreated.
The CDC encourages gay, bisexual men who have HIV, and those who have sex with men to either get the MenACWY vaccine if they live in Florida or talk with their healthcare provider about getting the vaccine if they are planning on moving or traveling to Florida.
Those who have not been diagnosed with HIV only need one dose of the vaccine, while men who have been diagnosed with HIV are required a 2-dose vaccine. Both categories of recipients are also required to wait at least two weeks before traveling.
In the news release, the CDC also emphasized the importance of routine MenACWY vaccinations of those who have been diagnosed with HIV and staying up to date on their booster shots.
For those between the ages of 16 through 23, citing the outbreak in college campuses, the MenB vaccine is available. College campuses have reported outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease in recent years.
In a health report, USA Today states that the early symptom stages to look out for are “headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting”. The Florida Department of Health urged anyone exposed to contact their health care provider immediately.
According to the report made by the DOH, the bacterial meningitis is “not easily transmissible fronm person-to-person. It requires close contact over a period of time, or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.” The CDC states that it cannot be caught through casual contact or breathing the same air as someone who has meningococcal disease.
The Florida Department of Health also stated that the number of cases identified in Florida in 2022 surpassed the 5-year average of meningococcal cases in the state, having already seen 21 cases and growing in 2022.