Florida witnesses meningococcal disease outbreak: What are the symptoms?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said it is investigating one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gays and bisexuals in Florida.

The US health agency said 24 cases of the disease have been detected with six deaths reported among gay and bisexual men.

The CDC has recommended meningococcal MenACWY vaccine for gays and bisexuals.

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José R. Romero, director, national center for immunisation and respiratory diseases said: “Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness.”

Romero added that the disease is “quickly becoming deadly”.

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“Because of the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it’s important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated,” Romero added.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of meningococcal disease include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea including dark purple rash. It first appears as a flu-like illness, the CDC said, but worsens quickly.

People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by sharing respiratory and throat secretions, it added.

How deadly is it for humans?

According to the CDC, meningococcal disease can affect anyone and causes infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord including the bloodstream. 

Taking a vaccine shot is the best protection against the disease, the CDC added.

(With inputs from Agencies)


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