The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging gay and bisexual men to get the meningococcal vaccine after an outbreak in Florida has led to an increase in cases.
Multiple meningitis cases have been reported across the state in the past few months, and some involved college students and those living with HIV, according to a news release from the CDC.
“Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider right away,” the release from the Florida Department of Health of Leon County said. “This is a rare but potentially devastating infection.”
For every 100 people who contract meningococcal disease, 10 to 15 will die, according to the CDC. One in 5 people who recover can suffer from long-term disabilities such as loss of limbs, brain damage and deafness.
The Florida Department of Health said the number of cases in 2022 has surpassed the five-year average, and it is investigating three confirmed cases in Tallahassee in people ages 18 to 22.
The disease is a more serious form of meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
It is caused by the bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, which is less contagious than germs that cause the common cold or flu, the release said. Meningococcal can be contracted after long periods of close contact, or direct contact such as kissing or sharing a drink.
Fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting are some of the early symptoms of the disease. The Florida Health Department said anyone exposed should contact their health cae provider immediately.
Contributing: Tallahassee Democrat
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