Meningococcal Outbreak Detected in Southern California

State health officials are warning that an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease has been detected among men in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Friday’s health advisory said LGBT men and those with HIV are at the highest risk. Nine individuals—most of them gay or bisexual—have contracted the illness since May and one has already died.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that proves fatal in one out of every 10 people. It is vaccine-preventable, but for those who have not been immunized, it can lead to meningitis and sepsis. It is spread by sneezing, coughing or contact with saliva or mucus. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, rash and muscle pain.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation urged L.A. County officials Friday to develop an extensive public information campaign. It is also calling for an increase in the supply of available vaccines.

The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that all HIV-infected persons be routinely vaccinated against the disease. State public health officials are recommending two doses of the vaccine for all HIV-infected adults and one dose for non-HIV gay and bisexual men who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

Read more about the outbreak here.

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