The Florida Department of Health is recommending vaccination amid an outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida.
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.
This 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.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
Early symptoms of the disease 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.
While this is a potentially devastating disease, the FDOH says it can be prevented and treated, and that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against meningococcal disease.
According to a statement from the FDOH, the following groups should consider vaccination with a meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine during this outbreak:
- College and university students;
- Immunocompromised individuals;
- People living with HIV;
- Men who have sex with men;
- People in any groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than 5 years ago.
Where to get a meningococcal vaccine
Find meningococcal vaccines, including the MenACWY vaccine, by contacting a health care provider, county health department, or pharmacy.
FDOH Broward offers meningococcal vaccines. For more information, visit the FDOH Broward website at broward.floridahealth.gov or call 954-467-4705.
For more information about meningococcal disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or the FDOH website.
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