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Meningitis Alert Issued For New York City Gay Guys
and "Men Who Have Sex With Men"
 
 
  http://blogs.villagevoice.com
By James King Thu., Sep. 27 2012

The New York City Health Department just issued a health alert for "gay men and men who have sex with men."

We're not experts, but "men who have sex with men" probably would have covered all bases.

Regardless, if you're a man having any type of sex with a man -- gay, bisexual, whatever -- you run the risk of contracting meningitis, according to Health officials.

The Health Department says there have been four cases of the disease in several boroughs, including one fatality, in the past four weeks.

All four of the men -- between the ages of 31 and 42 -- who contracted the disease are HIV positive, which the Health Department says puts them at a much greater risk than the general population.

The disease spreads by "prolonged close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. Examples of prolonged contact include living in the same household or intimate activities, including kissing and sexual contact."

Symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headache, stiff neck and rash that develop rapidly within two days. The Health Department says that people who have been in prolonged close contact with infected people need to see their health care provider immediately to receive preventive antibiotics.

Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days.

Health officials say that anyone with symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

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City Health Officials Investigating Deadly Bacterial Meningitis Outbreak Among HIV-Positive Men

September 27, 2012 4:47 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - The New York City Health Department has alerted local doctors of an outbreak of deadly bacterial meningitis among HIV-infected gay men.

Officials said in the past month, at least one person has died and another was hospitalized in critical condition from the outbreak.

"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 1010 WINS.

Of the 12 cases associated with the outbreak, four have died in the past two years, according to the health department.

The four recent cases have all been among HIV-positive men, according to the health department.

"The biggest challenge with this infection is once you get sick it causes illness very, very quickly," Varma said. "Once they develop symptoms such as fever, headache, a stiff neck or a rash, the symptoms progress very, very quickly and people can become severely ill."

Investigators are trying to find out how the infection spread. People the men were in close contact have been treated with antibiotics.

"One good part about this outbreak, if you could ever say anything good about an outbreak, is that the bacteria that causes this infection is easily treatable with common antibiotics," Varma told 1010 WINS.

The health department said bacterial meningitis is spread by prolonged close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. Examples of prolonged contact include living in the same household or engaging in intimate activities, such as kissing and sexual contact.

Bacterial meningitis can cause swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The disease is rare, but people with HIV-weakened immune systems are more susceptible.

Common symptoms of meningitis are high fever, headache, stiff neck and rash that develop rapidly within two days, according to the health department.

Officials said people who experience symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

 
 
 
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