March 8, 2013
New York is facing a deadly meningitis outbreak that is targeting gay men, many of which are HIV-positive. The city’s health department said several gay men have been found dead in their homes, and is urging people to immediately get vaccinated.
“Since August 2010, we’ve detected 12 cases of this very specific strain but what we’re most concerned about is that in the past four weeks there have been four cases and one of those cases has died,” Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Jay Varma, told CBS affiliate 1010 WINS.
All of the recent bacterial meningitis cases have involved HIV-positive gay men who have had close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. The New York Health Department initially issued a warning about the bacterial meningitis for HIV-positive men, but have since changed that warning to apply to all gay men. There have been 17 cases of bacterial meningitis in New York since 2012 and 22 cases since 2010, seven of which were fatal.
“Meningitis symptoms usually come on quickly, and the disease can be fatal if not treated right away,”Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a press release.