Last week the New York state Department of Health expanded earlier warnings about the ongoing meningitis outbreak. The DOH now recommends that all sexually active gay men in the state be vaccinated. Vaccinations were previously only suggested for HIV+ men in some parts of Brooklyn.
Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days.
Since 2010, 22 men residing in NYC and one man who resides outside the City, but spent significant time there, have become ill in this outbreak, seven have died. The recommendation by DOH has been expanded to include MSM residing outside NYC who have traveled to the City and engaged in the risk behaviors described below since September 1, 2012.
The following groups were identified by NYCDOHMH as being at highest risk of IMD and are being advised to obtain a quadravalent meningococcal vaccination: All HIV-infected MSM, MSM, regardless of HIV status, who regularly have close or intimate sexual contact with men met through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party.
Perhaps obviously, the updated warning does not include men in monogamous relationships. Click on the meningitis label in this post for previous updates.