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Posted 12 months ago
Meningitis Spreading Via Anonymous Sex in NYC
get vaccinated against meningitis amid an outbreak that
has sickened 22 New Yorkers and killed seven.
The dangerous strain of bacterial meningitis appears to
be spreading through sexual encounters between men
who meet through websites or smartphone apps, or at
bars or parties, according to the City's health
department. More than half of the infected men have
had HIV, a virus that attacks the immune system making
infections more likely and more severe.
"Vaccination is the best defense," City health
commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. "I
urge all men who meet these criteria - regardless of
whether they identify as gay - to get vaccinated now
and protect themselves from this disease before it is too
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the brain's
membranous lining, called the meninges. Early
symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck
and a rash within 10 days of the infection. If left
untreated, the disease can cause severe brain damage
and even death, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The disease is spread by "prolonged close contact with
nose or throat discharges from an infected person," the
health department said in a September 2012 statement
after the death of a patient. While vaccination can help
prevent new infections, "people that have been in
prolonged close contact with infected people need to see
their health-care provider immediately to receive
preventive antibiotics," the department added.