Gay and bisexual men urged to get vaccinated if living in Florida, or talk with their healthcare provider about vaccination if traveling to Florida
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues its collaboration with the Florida Department of Health to investigate one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history. At least 24 cases and 6 deaths among gay and bisexual men have been reported.
In TOTAL FDOH has reported 44 cases in 2022. County breakdowns in Central Florida show 13 of those were in Orange County, three in Seminole, three in Lake, one in Osceola, two in Brevard, and four in Polk. 10 total deaths have been reported.
In response to this outbreak, CDC is recommending gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men get a meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY) if they live in Florida, or talk with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated if they are traveling to Florida. CDC is also emphasizing the importance of routine MenACWY vaccination for people with HIV.
“Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly,” said José R. Romero, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Because of the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it’s important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida talk to their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine.”
Meningococcal disease outbreak among men who have sex with men
In response to an ongoing outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal disease in Florida, CDC is encouraging gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men to:
- Get a MenACWY vaccine if they live in Florida1
- Talk with their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine if they are traveling to Florida
In addition, CDC is highlighting that MenACWY vaccination is routinely recommended for all people with HIV in the United States.2
Meningococcal disease cluster among college and university students
In response to a cluster of serogroup B meningococcal disease cases in Florida, officials are recommending the following groups of college and university students in Leon County, FL, consider getting a MenB vaccine series3:
- College and university undergraduate students
- Students living in on-campus housing
- Those who participate in a fraternity or sorority
Find a meningococcal vaccine by contacting your
- Doctor’s office
- Community health center
- Local health department
People can find a meningococcal vaccine by contacting their doctor’s office, pharmacy, community health center, or local health department. Insurance providers should pay for meningococcal vaccination for those whom it is recommended for during an outbreak. In Florida, anyone can get a MenACWY vaccine at no cost at any county health department during the outbreak.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of meningococcal disease. Symptoms can appear suddenly and include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, or a dark purple rash. Symptoms can first appear as a flu-like illness, but typically worsen very quickly. People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close or lengthy contact, such as kissing or being near someone coughing, to spread these bacteria.
Meningococcal disease can affect anyone and can be deadly and includes infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against meningococcal disease.
- CDC routinely recommends MenACWY vaccine for children and adults at increased risk for meningococcal disease during an outbreak involving serogroups A, C, W, or Y. CDC also recommends a booster shot for those at increased risk due to an outbreak who received the vaccine more than 5 years ago.
- CDC routinely recommends MenACWY vaccine for children and adults at increased risk for meningococcal disease, including those with HIV. People with HIV should get a 2-dose primary series of MenACWY vaccine, with the second dose given at least 8 weeks after the first, followed by a booster dose every 5 years. If someone completed their primary series before the age of 7 years, they should get their first booster dose 3 years later and then get a booster dose every 5 years.
- CDC routinely recommends MenB vaccine for people 10 years or older who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease during an outbreak involving serogroup B. CDC also recommends a booster shot for those at increased risk due to an outbreak who received the vaccine more than 1 year ago.