Meningococcal disease outbreak reported in Florida by health department

The Florida Department of Health is urging people to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease as the state is currently experiencing an outbreak.

While exact figures were not released, health officials said the number of cases identified this year already surpasses the five-year average of meningococcal disease cases in Florida.

“FDOH epidemiologists are investigating each case as well as contacting people with potential or direct exposure to known cases to provide them with information and treatment options,” a news release from the department stated.

Health officials urge these groups of people to consider getting vaccinated:

Immunocompromised individuals;College and university students;People living with HIV;Men who have sex with men;People in any groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than five years ago.

Visit https://miamidade.floridahealth.gov or call 305-575-3800 to find a location in Miami-Dade County where you can get vaccinated. You may also contact your pharmacy or health care provider.

The health department’s website for Broward County is https://broward.floridahealth.gov/.

According to the FDOH, meningococcal disease “is a serious disease caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or flu. People do not catch the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been. It requires close contact over a period of time, or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.”

Early symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, confusion and rash.

Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider immediately.

“This is a rare but potentially devastating disease,” the news release stated.

For more information about meningococcal disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or the FDOH website.

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