Meningococcal Disease Outbreak In The US: Most Affected Are Gay And Bisexual Men

Meningococcal Disease Outbreak In The US: Most Affected Are Gay And Bisexual Men
Purple Rashes Are a Symptom Of Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal is the new threat in the United States, according to the latest CDC report. Here's everything you need to know about the contagious disease.

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : June 23, 2022 5:20 PM IST

Recently a significant number of gay and bisexual men of the United States have been reported to contract a disease called meningococcal. According to CDC, at least 24 gay and bisexual men have it and 6 people have died due to it. This disease is predominantly caused by a bacterium. If proper preventive measures and care are not taken, this disease can be deadly. It can infect the lining of the brain, spinal cord and blood stream. The best preventive measure recommended by doctors is getting vaccinated against the disease. The CDC says that a vaccine is readily available and people can access it by contacting a doctor, community health center or the local health departments.

Symptoms Of Meningococcal Disease

It has not clearly been stated when exactly the symptoms might appear, but experts believe that they may appear very suddenly. Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dark/purple rash
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Confused state of the mind

The symptoms might first start like normal influenza but can worsen very quickly.

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CDC Guidelines

As a response to the sudden outbreak of meningococcal disease, the CDC has issued certain guidelines especially for gays, bisexual and other men who have sexual relations or contacts with other men.

  • There is a vaccine for this disease called meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY).
  • If you live in Florida, where the outbreak has been reported, you must head for the nearest health center and take this vaccine.
  • If you are travelling to Florida now or in the near future, you must take the vaccine.
  • If you exhibit symptoms, they must contact their healthcare provider.
  • People with HIV must definitely take the MenACWY vaccine.

Transmission of this disease

This disease is contagious, and a person must take care to be safe. But the silver lining of this disease is that it is not as contagious as the common cold or flu. The germs that cause influenza are different. Bacteria cannot spread through casual contact or through air.

  • This disease can spread through respiratory and throat secretions, for example, through a person's saliva or spit.
  • It can spread through close, long contact with an infected person.
  • This disease can also spread through sexual activities

Meningococcal is not a new disease, but the recent outbreak and death of six people due to it is alarming, doctors state that you should be cautious and urgently follow the guidelines.