Quantcast
Published On: Sat, Dec 1st, 2012

NYC health officials issue expanded vaccine recommendations due to meningococcal disease outbreak among gay men

Two new cases of meningitis among men who have sex with men were reported over the past five weeks has prompted New York City health officials to  issue new recommendations  for vaccinating against invasive meningococcal disease, according to a New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene press release Nov. 29.

CDC/ Debora Cartagena

The outbreak has increased to 11 cases in the past year with the two newly reported cases.

Health officials say meningococcal vaccinations are now advised for men, regardless of HIV status, who have had intimate contact with another man that he met through a website, digital application (“App”), or at a bar or party since September 1, 2012 AND live in the following neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, East New York, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg.

Vaccination prevents, but does not treat current infection, health officials stress.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to person through respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well-documented areas of concern with this disease.

The NYC health department says people living with HIV are at a greater risk than the general population of acquiring invasive meningococcal disease and if infected, dying from infection.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay.

Meningococcal meningitis can be prevented with vaccination.

People should first ask their health care provider if they have the vaccine. For those who cannot obtain the vaccine from their health care provider, Health Department clinics can administer the vaccine. Locations are listed here.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

 

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd ) [ALL INFO CONFIDENTIAL]

About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

Tags
Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. San Francisco health officials suggest MSM consider meningitis vaccine if traveling to NYC - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a story last week, officials with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) are asking men who have sex […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter



Categories

Archives

At the Movies

Pin It