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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a warning about a Meningococcal outbreak affecting gay and bisexual men living with HIV in Florida.

Meningococcal disease is caused by an infection due to the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. The bacterium can cause meningitis and a life-threatening blood infection called meningococcemia (septicemia).

Meningitis and meningococcemia are medical emergencies. Meningococcemia (sepsis) can kill in as little as a few hours.

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What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a potentially deadly and highly infectious disease that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, and neck stiffness, sensitivity to bright lights, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.

What is Meningococcemia Septicemia?

Meningococcemia is a deadly blood infection caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It multiplies in the bloodstream and damages the walls of blood vessels causing multiple organ failure. Patients diagnosed with Meningococcemia septicemia are treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) isolation room to prevent infecting other patients in ICU.

Signs and symptoms of meningococcemia (sepsis) include flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, and severe aches and pains in the muscles, joints, chest and/or abdomen. Cold feet and hands usually appear before a skin rash.

Contact your health care provider or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing symptoms.

According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men living with HIV and other men who have sex with men should get the MenACWY vaccine ASAP if they live in Florida.

The CDC also recommends the vaccine for gay or bisexual men planning to visit Florida.

The Florida Department of Health in Leon County is investigating three confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in males in Tallahassee aged 18 to 22.

The CDC urges male college and university students, immunocompromised individuals, men living with HIV and other men who have sex with men to get vaccinated against the disease immediately.

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A deadly meningitis outbreak in Los Angeles has claimed the lives of 3 men in the gay community, the LA Times reports.

The LA County health department announced earlier this week that eight cases of invasive meningococcal disease have been diagnosed in the county so far this year

Officials said 4 of the cases were men who have sex with men. 3 of them died. The county will provide free vaccinations to those without health insurance.

A similar meningitis outbreak spread rapidly among promiscuous men who practice unsafe sex with men in NY in 2013.

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Exactly 30 years after the virus that causes AIDS decimated the gay population in major cities, a new gay scourge has emerged.

New York health officials are warning gay men of a new strain of bacterial meningitis that is spread primarily through intimate contact with men who meet in bars, public restrooms and parks to engage in unsafe sex.

Health officials are calling the new strain of meningitis "absolutely terrifying."

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91 people in 9 states contracted a deadly form of fungal meningitis from a tainted drug shipment. The outbreak killed at least 7 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. The New England pharmacy linked to the steroid drugs responsible for the outbreaks has issued a recall of the drug nationwide.

The states with reported cases of fungal meningitis are Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, MAryland, Michigan and Minnesota.

Steroid medication can weaken the immune systems of patients who receive the drug.

Over the weekend I learned that the mother-in-law of one of my cousins is among the victims who contracted fungal meningitis from Solu-Medrol, an anti-inflammatory steroid drug that is administered intravenously.

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