In a press release, the CDC said Wednesday that meningococcal spread among homosexual males, including those with HIV, in the Florida outbreak.
“Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly,” said Jose R. Romero, the head of the CDC’s immunization and respiratory disease division, in the release.
“Because of the outbreak in Florida,” he added, ”and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it’s important” that homosexual men get the vaccine.
At least 24 cases and 6 deaths among homosexual males have been reported so far, according to the agency.
“People can find a meningococcal vaccine by contacting their doctor’s office, pharmacy, community health center, or local health department,” the news release said.
“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.”
The Florida Department of Health first issued an alert about an outbreak in Leon County several months ago.
Despite treatment, 10–15 in 100 people die of the disease, the agency says. Up to 20 percent of survivors may have long-term disabilities such as loss of limbs, deafness, brain damage, and problems with the central nervous system.