A MAJOR bacterial outbreak has prompted an urgent alert after six deaths and two dozen other cases were reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement Wednesday that there have been at least 24 cases of meningococcal disease and seven deaths in gay and bisexual men.
The CDC has described the Florida outbreak as “one of the worst meningococcal disease outbreaks among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history,” according to a press release from the national health agency.
Now the community of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are being urged by the CDC to get a MenACWY vaccine if they live in Florida.
The state has an ongoing outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal disease.
They also recommend anyone in the risk group to speak to a health care provider about getting vaccinated before traveling to the state.
In addition, the MenACWY vaccine is often recommended for anyone living in the United States with HIV.
José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a statement: “Vaccination against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious disease that can quickly become fatal.
“Due to the outbreak in Florida and the number of Pride events taking place across the state in the coming weeks, it is important that gay and bisexual men residing in Florida be vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida, talk to their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated with the MenACWY vaccine.”
Officials are also suggesting college and university students in Leon County, Fla., consider a MenB vaccine line in response to a cluster of cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease.
The CDC warns that meningococcal disease “can affect anyone and can be fatal, and includes infections of the meninges and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream.”
Anyone experiencing meningococcal symptoms that come on suddenly should see a doctor right away.
Symptoms can include a high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, or a dark purple rash.
“Symptoms may initially appear as a flu-like illness but usually get worse very quickly,” the CDC explains.
“Humans transmit meningococcal bacteria to others by sharing respiratory and pharyngeal secretions (saliva or spit).”
Meningococcal disease is transmitted through close or prolonged contact.
An example of how it can be transmitted is kissing or being near someone who is coughing.
Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics and is best treated as soon as symptoms begin, the CDC says, noting that “antibiotics help reduce the risk of death.”
“Even with antibiotic treatment, 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die,” the CDC states.
“Up to 1 in 5 survivors will have long-term disabilities such as: loss of limbs, deafness, nervous system problems and brain damage.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5627865/florida-deaths-bacteria-outbreak-meningococcal/ Seven deaths from a major bacterial outbreak spark an urgent alert after 24 more cases were reported