25 June 2016
Public Health Officials in Southern California have disclosed that the recent death of a man could be linked to the invasive meningococcal outbreak affecting gay and bisexual men in the state.
According to the the California department of public health, the rare disease was first identified in May and since then, nine men in Los Angeles and Orange counties have fallen ill with a meningococcal infection, most of whom were gay or bisexual. One of them has died from the infection.
“We are concerned that gay and bisexual men in Southern California may be at increased risk for meningococcal disease,” the department said.
Meningcoccal diseases are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
Meningococcus bacteria are spread through close exposure to sneezing or coughing, or direct contact with saliva or nose mucus.
Symptoms usually begin within a few days of exposure and include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, a rash and muscle pains.
Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important.
The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended this week that all HIV patients routinely receive meningococcal vaccines.