(CMR) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging gay and bisexual men to get the meningococcal vaccine if they plan to travel to Florida after an outbreak in the sunshine state.
The CDC said there had been multiple meningitis cases reported across the state in the past few months, and some involved college students and those living with HIV.
“Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider right away. This is a rare but potentially devastating infection,” the release from the Florida Department of Health of Leon County said.
The CDC said that for every 100 people who contract the meningococcal disease, 10 to 15 will die. One in 5 people who recover can suffer from long-term disabilities such as loss of limbs, brain damage, and deafness.
The number of cases in 2022 has reportedly surpassed the five-year average, with the Florida health department investigating three confirmed cases in Tallahassee in people ages 18 to 22.
The disease is a more severe form of meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
This type of bacterial meningitis is not easily transmissible from person to person, the Florida Department of Health said. It requires close contact over a period of time or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people do not catch the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing the air where someone with meningococcal disease has been.
Early symptoms of the disease include sudden headache, fever, vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, rash, and light sensitivity. Anyone who has been exposed to or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider right away. This is a rare but potentially devastating infection.