Nurse Gail Ingram has been following meningitis in NYC and is sad to report that it’s back:
I thought we had this thing licked and I wrote an article in July of 2013 to celebrate. Unfortunately, a new cluster of cases has appeared over the summer and the New York City Department of Health [NYC DOH] has issued another warning to gay men. There were 22 cases treated between 2010 and 2013 resulting in 7 deaths. Recently, 3 cases of meningitis have occurred in Brooklyn and Queens between August 24th and September 5th.
The NYC DOH is urging all gay men who have sex with men to be vaccinated as well as all men (sexually active or not) who have HIV. The GMHC Center on 224 West 29th Street between 7th/8th Avenues gave over 7,000 vaccines during the last outbreak. Give them at call at (212) 367-1420.
For those who cannot obtain a vaccination, a NYC DOH clinic can help. Locations are listed at the Health Department’s Site Locator. The vaccine is also available at pharmacies, including all Duane Reade/Walgreens locations in New York City.
The NYC DOH press release also mentions that, in addition to kissing, meningitis is passed by sharing pipes and other drug inhaling paraphernalia, and in this case, there is an association with men who use dating apps (like Grindr).
The symptoms of infection include fever, chills, weakness, and muscle aches. In later stages, the illness may include headache, stiff neck, and widespread rash. Symptoms usually occur within 5 days of contact with an infected person but be as late as 10 days. People who experience these symptoms, especially those with HIV-infection, should seek medical care immediately. Meningitis is a serious infection that can lead to brain damage, amputations, and death.