The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced its ongoing collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in response to what it describes as “one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in US history.” The CDC has recommended vaccination for high-risk men in response to the outbreak, which has resulted in 24 cases and six deaths so far.
Jose R. said: Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at statement. “Given the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events that will be held across the state in the coming weeks, it is important that gay and bisexual men living in Florida are vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida talk with their healthcare provider about getting a vaccine. MenACWY”.
There are at least 13 different groups of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. Six basic serogroups – A, B, C, W-135, X, and Y – are responsible for nearly all cases of the disease worldwide. Meningococcal disease in the United States is caused almost exclusively by serogroup B, C and Y, and is treated with two vaccines – the meningococcal conjugate or MenACWY vaccine and the meningococcal serogroup B or MenB vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the MenACWY vaccine because the current outbreak in Florida is associated with serogroup C.
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The CDC reports that meningococcal disease can infect anyone with a potentially fatal infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include a high fever, headache, a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and a dark purple rash. Symptoms may initially reflect common flu symptoms but worsen quickly. Meningococcal bacteria can be spread through respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit), which is why meningitis is sometimes known as the kissing disease.
Call your doctor’s office, pharmacy, community health center, or local health department for a meningococcal disease vaccination. Insurance providers must cover the cost for those under recommended vaccination. In Florida, the MenACWY vaccine is available free of charge at any county health department during the outbreak.
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