WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- One of the worst meningitis outbreaks in U.S. history has prompted public health officials to urge gay and bisexual men who live in Florida or plan to visit the state to get vaccinated right away.
Twenty-four cases of meningitis and seven deaths among gay and bisexual men are under investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Public Health. Officials said it was one of the worst outbreaks ever among this group.
"Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly," José Romero, M.D., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in an agency news release. "Because of the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it's important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida talk to their health care provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine."
The CDC is also emphasizing the importance of routine meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccination for people with HIV. During the outbreak, anyone in Florida can get a free MenACWY vaccine at any county health department.