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24 cases and 7 deaths among gay and bisexual men from Florida meningococcal disease outbreak, CDC says

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CDC’s monkeypox advisory for travelers 0:40 (CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health are investigating “one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in US history,” the CDC reported Wednesday. So far there have been 24 cases and seven deaths among gay and bisexual men.
The CDC states that the outbreak is “primarily among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV. Recent data shows that about half of the cases associated with this outbreak are among Hispanic men. This outbreak is primarily affecting people living in Florida, but has also affected some people who have traveled to Florida.” Meningococcal disease includes meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and bloodstream infections. “Meningococcal disease can affect anyone and can be fatal,” the CDC said in its statement. The bacteria are spread by sharing respiratory or throat secretions, such as saliva. Close or prolonged contact, such as kissing or being near someone who is coughing, is usually necessary to spread the bacteria. Symptoms include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting, or a dark purple rash, according to the CDC. Although they may seem like the flu at first, they often get worse quickly. If someone has these symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately. The CDC recommends that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men get a meningococcal vaccine if they live in Florida, or talk to their health care provider if they’re traveling to the state. For those living with HIV, health officials are emphasizing the importance of routine vaccination. “Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious disease, which can be rapidly fatal,” Dr. José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in the CDC news release. . “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 living in Florida get vaccinated, and that those traveling to Florida talk to your health care provider about getting the meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY).” The vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, community health centers or local health departments, the CDC said, and insurance should cover the cost for people recommended for the vaccine during an outbreak. Anyone in Florida can get the vaccine at no cost at county health departments during the outbreak. According to the CDC, the outbreak affecting men who have sex with men is caused by serogroup C.
There are also a number of unrelated serogroup B cases among college students in one county. The update on the meningococcal disease outbreak comes as the CDC has been tracking an unusual outbreak of monkeypox in countries where the disease is not endemic, including the United States. The CDC reports that there have been 142 cases of monkeypox in the United States, 13 of them in Florida. The threat to the general US population is low, according to the CDC, but there are remarkably high numbers of monkeypox cases among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. “However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk,” the CDC notes.

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