Illustration of meningococcemia, the spread of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria in the blood. (Getty)
A meningococcal disease epidemic primarily affecting gay men in Florida is one of the worst outbreaks in US history, the CDC has said.
As of Thursday (June 23), there were 24 cases and seven deaths of gay and bisexual men from meningococcal disease, according to CNN.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that although meningococcal disease can affect anyone, the current epidemic affects “primarily gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men”. , including those living with HIV”.
He added, “Recent data shows that approximately half of the cases associated with this outbreak are in Hispanic males. This outbreak primarily affects people who live in Florida, but has also affected some people who have traveled to Florida. »
Meningococcal disease describes diseases caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. This may include infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord and bloodstream, according to the CDC.
Symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, or a dark purple rash. Symptoms may initially resemble flu-like illnesses, but worsen very quickly.
Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact, such as sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or sputum). Typically, it takes close or prolonged contact, such as kissing or being near someone who is coughing.
The CDC has recommended that gay men who live in Florida or travel to the state get vaccinated against the disease.
Traveling to Florida for #Pride events? If you are a gay or bisexual man, talk to your healthcare professional about getting a #meningococcus vaccine. Learn more about the vaccine and meningococcal disease epidemic in Florida: https://t.co/2PWUgzp6DP. pic.twitter.com/ibcz4KiDEV
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 27, 2022
José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, “Due to the outbreak in Florida and the number of Pride events being held across the state in the coming weeks, it is important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated and those who travel to Florida talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated against MenACWY.
The meningococcal strain detected in the current outbreak is serogroup C. An unrelated serogroup B outbreak is seen among college students in one county.
The CDC noted that meningococcus has a pattern of infections that increases every seven to 10 years.
The meningococcal outbreak was spotted following health authorities’ tracking of monkeypox, another disease that can affect anyone but is disproportionately detected in gay men.
Currently in the USA there are 142 cases of monkeypox, including 13 in Florida, by CNN.
Monkeypox continues to spread around the world as Singapore, South Africa and South Korea recorded their first cases of infection this week.