A big outbreak of meningococcal illness — a doubtlessly lethal an infection — has been reported amongst homosexual and bisexual males in Florida, in response to well being officers, who’re urging folks in these populations to get vaccinated towards the illness.
Officials with the Florida Department of Health (opens in new tab) mentioned on April 7 that the variety of instances of meningococcal illness reported within the state this 12 months had surpassed the state’s five-year common. The outbreak is primarily affecting homosexual and bisexual males in Florida, together with folks with HIV, in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (opens in new tab). Some instances have additionally been reported in individuals who traveled to Florida.
In response to the outbreak, the CDC is encouraging males who’ve intercourse with males and dwell in Florida to get the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which is named the MenACWY vaccine. People on this inhabitants who’re touring to Florida ought to speak with their healthcare supplier about getting the vaccine, in response to the CDC..
In addition, the Florida well being division recommends the meningococcal conjugate vaccine to the next teams throughout this outbreak: College and college college students, folks with weakened immune methods (immunocompromised) and folks with HIV.
Multiple instances of meningococcal illness have additionally been reported amongst Florida faculty college students over the previous couple of months, however right now, there is no such thing as a proof that the instances amongst faculty college students are associated to the bigger outbreak amongst males who’ve intercourse with males, CDC officers mentioned.
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Meningococcal illness is a uncommon however critical sickness brought on by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The commonest varieties of meningococcal illness embody meningitis, an an infection of the membranes that line the mind and spinal wire, and bloodstream infections, in response to the CDC.
The illness is unfold by means of respiratory secretions, which means saliva, in response to the CDC. It typically takes shut or extended contact with an contaminated particular person to unfold the illness. For instance, kissing or being near somebody who’s coughing can unfold the illness, in response to the CDC.
Symptoms of meningitis embody fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, gentle sensitivity and confusion. Symptoms of bloodstream infections with N. meningitidis embody fever, chills, fatigue, vomiting, chilly palms and ft, extreme muscle aches, speedy respiration, diarrhea and, in late phases of the illness, a darkish purple rash, in response to the CDC.
The illness could be handled with antibiotics, and remedy ought to start as quickly as attainable. The situation is extraordinarily critical — even with antibiotics, 10 to fifteen folks out of each 100 folks with meningococcal illness die from it, in response to the CDC.
In the overall inhabitants, folks in danger for meningococcal illness embody infants, teenagers and younger adults, and folks with sure medical circumstances, together with HIV, which weakens the immune system.
In the present outbreak amongst males who’ve intercourse with males in Florida, “unfortunately, it seems that was the population that was struck first, and this virus spreads through close prolonged contact,” Jill Roberts, an assistant professor on the University of South Florida who focuses on molecular epidemiology, informed native information outlet WTSP (opens in new tab). “There is nothing special about Neisseria that it particularly wants to spread in that population.”
Originally printed on Live Science.