Health

Alert for outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida

So far, the average number of cases identified in 2022 exceeds the rate of the last five years, according to an FDOH news release.

Official figures show 21 cases of meningococcal disease in 10 counties, while Orange, Leon and Lake reported the largest number of patients with this condition, with six, three and three cases, respectively.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infection, which can quickly turn deadly .

In response to the meningococcal disease outbreak in Florida, health officials are recommending that all gay and bisexual men living in the state get vaccinated with a dose of MenACWY vaccine to help protect against meningococcal disease.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion, and rash.

This is a serious disease caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as the germs that cause the common cold or the flu.

As explained, people do not contract the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing the air where someone with meningococcal disease has been. It requires close contact over a period of time or direct contact, such as kissing or sharing drinks.

Anyone who has been exposed or develops these symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider right away. It is a “rare disease”, but potentially devastating, according to health authorities.

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