The CDC is reporting 24 cases of meningococcal in the United States with 6 deaths among gay and bisexual men.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating one of the worst meningococcal outbreaks among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history, according to a recent press release.
“Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly,” said Dr. José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“Gay and bisexual men who live in Florida should get vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida should talk to their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine,” the statement reads. “Due to the outbreak in Florida and the number of Pride events being held across the state in the coming weeks.”
At least 24 cases and 6 deaths among gay and bisexual males have been documented by the organization, with around half of the outbreak’s cases being among Hispanic men.
The majority of people infected by the current outbreak are Floridians, while some visitors were also impacted.
The CDC recommends the MenACWY vaccine, which protects against meningococcal disease caused by four strains of the meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W, and Y.
The organization highlighted that MenACWY vaccinations should be administered routinely to all HIV patients.
Although six serotypes cause the disease globally, serotypes B, C, and Y are primarily responsible for the majority of meningococcal cases in the United States. Serotype C is the cause of the outbreak.
With early data showing high numbers among homosexual, bisexual, and other men who have sex with males, the CDC is also keeping an eye on an epidemic of monkeypox in nations that typically don’t report the disease.
As of June 23, 173 monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases have been reported in the United States, including approximately 16 Florida cases, per the CDC website.
Neisseria meningitides is the name of the bacterium that causes meningococcal illness.
Around 10% of people have the bacteria colonized in the back of their nose and throat, making them “carriers” who carry the germs in their bodies without getting sick.
Coughing, sneezing, kissing, or prolonged contact can all spread the disease.
Meningococcal disease can’t be spread by “casual contact” or breathing in the air that’s been contaminated by someone who has the disease.
Septicemia, in which bacteria enter the bloodstream and harm organs, and meningitis, an infection of the protective membranes (known as the meninges) covering the brain and spinal cord, are the two main illnesses that can result when bacteria enter the body.
It is common for flu-like symptoms to develop into a fever, headache, and stiff neck as the germs invade the brain and spinal cord protective lining, and these symptoms grow quickly.
Septicemia caused by meningococcal bacteria, also known as meningococcemia, can lead to bleeding into the skin and other organs, leading to a purple-hued rash as the bacteria multiply and destroy the blood vessel walls.
There are several more symptoms of septicemia that include a feeling of exhaustion as well as nausea and diarrhea.
“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,” the CDC said.
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