The CDC says it is closely monitoring what it calls “one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history” in the state of Florida.
The health agency first issued a warning back in April regarding an outbreak of the disease, which it said was disproportionately spreading amongst gay men.
In a press release issued Wednesday, it said it had now counted 24 cases and 6 deaths among gay and bisexual men.
It has again called for gay and bi men to speak to a health adviser about getting the meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY), which is free in Florida because of the outbreak.
“Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly,” said José R. Romero, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“Because of the outbreak in Florida, and the number of Pride events being held across the state in coming weeks, it’s important that gay and bisexual men who live in Florida get vaccinated, and those traveling to Florida talk to their healthcare provider about getting a MenACWY vaccine.”
If you’re likely to be traveling to Florida, speak with a health provider about being vaccinated at least two weeks before visiting the state.
The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infection, both of which can quickly become deadly.
In a separate development, a clinic in New York City yesterday invited gay and bi men to get the Monkeypox vaccine. The call-out came after the number of cases in the US of the previously rare infection topped 156. The outbreak in the US follows a similar outbreak in Europe, which is disproportionately impacting gay and bisexual men.
In New York City, around 30 cases of monkeypox have been diagnosed, with most among gay men.
Yesterday, the New York City Health Department issued a statement saying, “Vaccination is available for people who may have been recently exposed to monkeypox. Eligible people can get the two-dose vaccine at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Appointments are recommended.”
As news spread quickly online and via word-of-mouth, all the appointment slots were booked up. More than 100 were reportedly queuing for up to a couple of hours for walk-in slots.
🚨BREAKING: If you are 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ in NYC and had multiple sex partners over the last 14 days you can get vaccinated for monkeypox today at the Chelsea Clinic (303 9th Ave.)Vaccines are availble 11 am to 7 pm Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, & Sundays.
— James Krellenstein (@jbkrell) June 23, 2022
With no advanced notice or outreach NYC announced in the middle of the day that they’d vaccinate men who have sex with men against monkeypox. The appt website doesn’t work, but word is spreading online so people are coming to the Chelsea clinic. Maybe 150 here now & a 2 hour wait pic.twitter.com/dwWvs6iyl4
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) June 23, 2022
In response to the surge in demand, the NY Health Department later said, “All vaccination appointment slots have been filled through Monday, June 27. Unfortunately, walk-in vaccinations will also not be available at this time. We are requesting additional supply from the CDC to meet the high demand. Check back on Sunday for appointments for the following week.”