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The CDC is warning of a historic, very deadly outbreak of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 24 men have contracted the disease, resulting in at least six deaths, in what it describes as “one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in the history of the US’.
Meningococcal disease, often the cause of meningitidis, is a rare but highly contagious condition spread through a virus or bacteria. It infects a person’s brain and spinal cord.
While the CDC recommends gay and bisexual men get vaccinated against the virus, a health expert tells DailyMail.com that even if someone gets stung now, they still won’t make it to the disease in time for this weekend’s Pride festivities. will be protected.
Ahead of the last weekend of Pride month, Florida officials and the CDC are warning of a “historic” outbreak of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in the state of Sunshine. Pictured: Revelers snap photos at a June 18 Pride event in Wilton Manors, Florida
It leaves the gay and bisexual community in Florida with another concern heading into a weekend of indulgence as monkey pox appears to be traveling through the demographics as well.
Officials have not revealed where in Florida the cases were found, or if they are even all in the same region.
The time frame in which they were discovered has also not been confirmed, but statements from officials indicate that they are relatively recent and related to Pride festivities.
‘Meningitis is by definition an infection of the protective covering of the spinal cord. It can be caused by a number of different fungi, viruses and bacteria,” Dr. Jonathan Appelbaum, chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Florida State University, in the state’s capital, Tallahassee, told DailyMail.com.
dr. Jonathan Appelbaum (pictured), chair of Florida State University’s Department of Clinical Sciences, recommends gay and bisexual men get vaccinated, but warns it’s too late to be protected for this weekend’s festivities
He explained that the virus does not usually spread through sexual networks, making it strange that all cases were discovered among gay and bisexual men.
The disease generally spreads through close contact but, like Covid, can spread through respiratory droplets.
“The reason for this outbreak is that people are in close contact. Wherever we have people in close contact with each other, this can happen,” he said.
It can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and Appelbaum says the recent spate of cases in Florida are linked to bacterial transmission.
Many people already have to get vaccinated against the disease to either go to college or join the military — but outside those groups, acceptance is poor.
Exact numbers on the number of Americans vaccinated are not available, but the National Meningitis Association (NMA) say that many teens who qualify for the injection have not received it.
The CDC recommends gay and bisexual men who have not yet received the injection to do so to protect themselves in the future.
“Vaccination against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious disease, which can quickly become fatal,” said Dr. José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a CDC statement.
“Due to the outbreak in Florida and the number of Pride events being held across the state in the coming weeks, it is important that gay and bisexual men living in Florida are vaccinated and that those traveling to Florida talk to their health care provider.” about getting a MenACWY vaccine.”
Appelbaum insists they get stung too, but warns that it will take time for the injections to activate in one’s body — a person vaccinated now won’t be protected in time for this week’s Pride festivities.
Mass pride celebrations are planned this weekend before the last weekend of June, with thousands expected to descend on beaches across the state.
Community leaders from around the world have issued warnings to protect against monkey pox ahead of these festivities, and in Florida it appears they could pose another potential threat as well.
The NMA reports that there are about 600 to 1,000 cases of the disease in the US each year. More than one in five of these cases occur in people ages 11 to 24.
The organization also reports that 20 percent of teens have not received the vaccines, and more than two-thirds who have received the shot also receive a boost.