The CDC has published a warning concerning a rare disease called meningococcal disease spreading in Florida. So far in 2022, the number of documented cases has surpassed the five year average.
This condition begins similarly to the flu. However, what makes it so dangerous is that the disease can affect the brain’s lining, the bloodstream, and even the spinal cord. The fact that it can spread to these vital areas of the body mean that it can be deadly.
How it Spreads
This condition spread from person to person via direct contact. For instance, it can spread through saliva when people kiss or if they share a drink.
Due to the spread through direct contact, some groups of people are at higher risk for contracting this disease. This includes college students. Also at higher risk are those who are immunocompromised, those who are diagnosed with HIV, and those who have never received the MenACWY vaccine or who received it over 5 years ago.
What to Do
Right now, the Florida Department of Health is working diligently to contact all individual who may have been exposed to someone with the disease. They are also encouraging people to look out for early symptoms.
Early symptoms of this condition are headache, vomiting, nausea, rash, confusion, fever, and notably, a stiff neck.
If you have been exposed to someone with this disease or if you experience any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Additionally, if you’re not vaccinated or if its been more than 5 years since you’ve received the vaccine, it’s important to get vaccinated. Right now, that is the best protection we have against this condition.
You can read more about meningococcal disease and how to protect yourself here.