CDC warns of meningococcal outbreak among gay Florida men

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CDC warns of meningococcal outbreak among gay Florida men

The Centers for Disease Control and Florida health officials are warning of a “historic” meningococcal outbreak among gay and bisexual men that has killed seven and severely sickened 24 others.

The alarming surge in cases had led the CDC to recommend vaccines for all gay and bisexual men in the Sunshine State.

The agency characterized the ongoing transmissions “as one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in US history.”

The bacteria can spread through saliva and transmission requires close contact, health officials said.

Kissing or being near an infected party that coughs can cause an infection.

“Meningococcal disease can affect anyone and can be deadly and includes infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream,” the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC and Florida health officials have issued a warning about a "historic" meningococcal outbreak among gay and bisexual men in Florida.
The CDC and Florida health officials have issued a warning about a “historic” meningococcal outbreak among gay and bisexual men in Florida.
AP Photo/Ron Harris

The agency is also recommending vaccines for gay men who plan to travel to Florida.

“This outbreak is mostly affecting people who live in Florida but has also affected some people who have traveled to Florida,” officials said.

The CDC noted that half of those infected by the illness in Florida are Hispanic.

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