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“Florida is in the midst of a meningococcal outbreak.” What to know about meningitis now

Gram stain for meningococcus shows Gram-negative (pink) bacteria, usually Comes in pairs. Credit: Public Domain

Florida is facing multiple outbreaks – COVID, monkeypox, dengue. But meningococcal disease is also now on the minds of health professionals.

So you might be wondering: what should you know and what can you do?

In discussion with reporters, Dr. Ulyee Choe, Florida Department of Health Statewide Medical Director, compares monkeypox to meningitis Adverse effects of coccidiosis, leading to fatal meningitis. He didn’t like what he saw in the Sunshine State.

“In a way, meningococcal disease worries me more considering the severity of the disease,” Choe said .

This is why you may also be concerned, and may have questions, about meningococcal disease.

Meningitis Counts in Florida

48 cases of meningitis in Florida from January 1 to July Coccidiosis cases February 21, 2022, according to the state’s health department.

14 cases of meningitis reported to date, most of which have been identified in Oran, Central Florida The county, home to the Orlando area, is also home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

But South Florida also has cases.

Miami-Dade has four, Broward has two, and Palm Beach County has one. As of July 20, there were no reported cases in the Florida Keys.

In comparison, Florida had 27 cases of meningococcal disease in 2021, 17 in 2020, 2019 There were 23 cases in 2022 – compared with 48 cases in 2022, just over half recorded.

Of which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so far this year, a quarter of Florida’s (i.e. 12) and 48 died after contracting meningitis. This number represents a 25% mortality rate.

Not to minimize monkeypox, but as of mid-July there have been no reported deaths from monkeypox in Florida or the US.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is caused by a The bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus.

These conditions are often severe and include infection and swelling of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningeal membranes), according to the CDC. inflammation) and blood infections (bacteremia or sepsis).

The three-layered Mayo Clinic explains that membranes called the meninges protect the brain and spinal cord. That’s why when the disease progresses and infects the brain and spinal cord, it’s called “meningitis.”

How is meningitis spread?

Meningococcal disease is not as contagious as causing common The germs of cold or flu or COVID-19, which can be contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets from infected and nearby people.

According to the Florida Department of Health, meningitis usually requires close contact to spread from one person to another. Think about kissing or sharing your food or drink, and you may pass respiratory and throat secretions such as saliva. Living in close proximity to an infected person also helps the disease spread.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease

Early symptoms of meningococcal disease include:

  • Fever, headache, stiff neck
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Light Sensitivity

  • Confusion and rash, usually red and purple.
  • Symptoms of Infants

    Symptoms of Infants It may vary and may include slowness or inactivity, irritability, vomiting, poor feeding, or a raised soft spot on the baby’s head.

    How has meningitis affected you?

    “Even with antibiotic treatment, per 100 meninges 10 to 15 people with pneumococcal disease die,” according to the CDC. As many as one in five survivors will have a long-term disability, such as:

    Lost limbs

  • Deafness
  • Nervous system problems

  • Brain Injury
  • Who is most at risk?

  • According to the Miami Herald, an outbreak advisory from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Florida had a “massive and ongoing outbreak of meningococcal disease,” mainly in males. gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, including people living with HIV. April.

other Groups at risk include:

    Immunocompromised persons such as HIV-infected persons, persons with damaged or removed spleen, persons with sickle cell disease, persons taking complement inhibitor drugs, persons with complement components Florida International University School of Public Health and Social Work said Mary Jo Trepka, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology. Someone who lives very close to others. This could include college freshmen (or unvaccinated newcomers) living in dorms and U.S. military recruits.

  • People who travel to parts of the world where meningococcal disease is endemic. Currently, the region with the highest incidence is sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence is high, according to the CDC. There, meningitis cases can be as high as 1,000 per 100,000 people.
  • Are Floridians at greater risk?

“Florida is in the midst of a meningococcal outbreak Medium. Traditionally, the meningococcal disease problem has not necessarily been greater in Florida than elsewhere,” Trepka said.

Is there a test for meningitis?

According to the Florida Department of Health, if suspected With meningococcal disease, doctors can order a sample of blood or cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord for laboratory testing.

How is meningococcal disease treated?

Rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical.

Doctors can prescribe antibiotics for meningococcal disease.

“Patients with meningococcal disease are no longer ill after taking appropriate antibiotics for 24 hours,” the Florida Department of Health said, citing the CDC. be able to spread it to others.

But some may also require advanced medical care, which may mean being in an intensive care unit Treatment.

How to protect yourself

The CDC and the Florida Department of Health recommend a meningococcal vaccine. In addition, “Maintaining healthy habits, such as getting plenty of rest and not being in close contact with people who are sick, can also help. “

Who should be vaccinated? )

“Our gay and bisexual men in Florida The outbreak among men was due to serogroup C of Neisseria meningitidis,” Trepka said.

She noted the disease Two meningococcal vaccines also noted by the CDC:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine or MenACWY vaccine.
  • Serogroup B meningococcal or MenB vaccine.

“MenACWY protects against serogroups A, C, W. While MenB protects against serogroup B, MenACWY is the one recommended in this [Florida] outbreak,” Trepka said.

“MenACWY vaccine is usually given to all 11-12 year olds with a booster dose at 16 years of age. That’s because teens and young adults are at high risk,” she said.

All high-risk groups — including immune function People who are low–and those at higher risk of exposure, such as new college students who will be living in dorms, and during an outbreak in Florida, should consider getting the MenACWY vaccine.

“There’s no harm in getting anyone else vaccinated,” Trepka said, “It’s a very safe vaccine, but the most important thing is that these high-risk groups get vaccinated. “

    Miami Herald 2022.

    Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
    Citation : “Florida is in the midst of a meningococcal outbreak. “Knowledge About Meningitis (2022, July 25) Retrieved September 1, 2022 from

    This document is protected by copyright. Except for any fair dealing for private study or research purposes, it may not be used without written permission Copy any part. Content is for reference only.



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