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Florida Department of Health responds to meningococcal disease outbreak

Vaccine against bacterial meningitis AP.png
Posted at 1:31 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 13:40:52-04

The Florida Department of Health said its responding to an outbreak of meningococcal disease in the state.

In a press release, DOH said the number of cases so far in 2022 surpassed the five-year average of meningococcal disease cases in the state. DOH said epidemiologists are investigating each case as well as contacting people with potential or direct exposure to tell them about treatment options.

DOH said meningococcal disease is serious and caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. DOH these bacteria are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or flu. People do not catch the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been. It requires close contact over a period of time or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, confusion, and rash. Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider immediately. This is a rare but potentially devastating disease.

DOH said the following group should consider vaccination with a meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine during this outbreak:

  • College and university students
  • Immunocompromised individuals
  • People living with HIV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People in any groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than 5 years ago

For more information about meningococcal disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or the FDOH website or call your local FDOH:

Citrus: 352-527-0068
Hardee: 863-773-4161
Hernando: 352-540-6800
Highlands: 863-386-6040
Hillsborough: 813-307-8000
Manatee: 941-748-0747
Pasco: 727-619-0300
Pinellas: 727-824-6900
Polk: 863-519-7900
Sarasota: 941-861-2900