Jun 24, 2022 - Health

Meningococcal disease outbreak reported in Florida

The sign outside the CDC's Atlanta headquarters.
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The CDC issued a warning Thursday about "one of the worst outbreaks" of meningococcal disease in U.S. history, among gay and bisexual men in Florida.

Driving the news: The outbreak has resulted in at least 26 cases and seven deaths, the CDC reports.

  • Specifically, the CDC is recommending gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men get a meningococcal vaccine if they live in Florida, or talk with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated if they are traveling there.
  • Health officials emphasized the importance of routine vaccination for those living with HIV.

What they are saying: "Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly," said José Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Details: Meningococcal disease can affect anyone, officials said.

  • Symptoms of the infection, which can appear suddenly, include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting or a dark purple rash.
  • Generally, it takes close contact or being near someone coughing to spread the bacteria, officials said.
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