The meningococcal disease has killed a quarter of the people infected this year

An outbreak of the meningococcal disease in the United States has killed a quarter of the people infected this year. Here are the symptoms to look for

According to an official, meningococcal outbreaks have killed a quarter of those infected this year.

The bacteria that make people sick can infect the brain and spinal cord lining.

The CDC said that vaccines provide the "best protection" against meningococcal disease.

A health official said that a meningococcal disease outbreak in Florida killed a quarter of the people infected this year.

Of the 48 cases of meningococcal disease reported in Florida in 2022, 12 people died, Dr. Ole Choi, director of the Florida Department of Health (FDH) in Pinellas County, told Insider.

Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitides, which can infect the lining of the brain and spinal cord or cause an infection in the bloodstream.

The Miami Herald reported that Choi said the meningococcal disease outbreak worries him more than monkeypox, which has spread rapidly in the United States in recent months.

Meningococcal disease causes fever and a stiff neck

The most common symptoms are high fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Still, the condition can also cause a dark purple skin rash, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and confusion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Choi urged anyone exposed to or showing symptoms of meningococcal disease to seek immediate medical attention because the disease can be treated with antibiotics.

People get meningococcal disease from prolonged close contact with an infected person, such as when sharing drinks or kissing. According to the FDH, it is not as contagious as the common cold or the flu, and the bacteria are not spread during casual contact or from breathing the air where an infected person has been.

It's rare for people in the United States to get sick from this bug, partly because the vaccines protect against 4 of the 5 most common types of Neisseria meningococcal and are part of the routine vaccination schedule for teens in the United States.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease.

Choi said on Wednesday that meningococcal disease in Florida mainly affected gay men but was not "restricted to a particular community," according to the Miami Herald. "Anyone is vulnerable," he said.

The situation comes amid an outbreak of monkeypox that primarily affects gays, bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men. However, as Insider Hilary Brooke reported, it is not a "homosexual disease."

His concern is a meningococcal disease "somewhat," Choi said, which is more deadly than monkeypox, which hasn't killed anyone in the United States.

The CDC said on June 22, when there were 24 cases, and six deaths, the meningococcal outbreak in Florida was "one of the worst meningococcal disease outbreaks among gay and bisexual men in US history."

The Miami Herald reports that Choi urged MSM and immunocompromised people to get a free vaccine in the state.

Dr. Jose R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in June: "Vaccination against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this dangerous disease, which can quickly become fatal."

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