Meningococcal Outbreak

May 29, 2013

Due to an on-going outbreak of Invasive Meningococcal Disease among men who have sex with men in New York City, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County is distributing the following information.

What is invasive Meningococcal Disease?

Meningococcal Disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria Meningitidis, also called Meningococcus.  One type of Meningococcal Disease is Meningitis.

Symptoms of Meningitis include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck.


Another type of Meningococcal Disease is a bloodstream infection, known as Meningococcemia.

Symptoms of Meningococcemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cold chills
  • Severe aches or pains in the muscles, joints, chest or abdomen (belly)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • In the later stages, a dark purple rash.


Anyone with these symptoms should call us immediately.


How is Invasive Meningococcal Disease spread?

Neisseria Meningitidis bacteria are spread through  the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like saliva.  The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or simply breathing the air where a person with meningococcal disease has been.

Are people living with HIV at greater risk or acquiring Invasive Meningococcal Disease?

People living with HIV are at greater risk than the general population of acquiring the infection that causes Invasive Meningococcal Disease.

How can people protect themselves?

There are several vaccines licensed for use in adults that can help protect people against Invasive Meningococcal Disease.  Meningococcal vaccine may provide protection 7 – 10 days after vaccination, but not everyone will develop protective levels of antibodies.  Individuals who are living with HIV should return after 8 weeks for a second dose.

Is this in any way to other meningitis outbreak that has been traced back to a steroid injection?



For additional information regarding meningitis, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website:

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