Following last week’s warning from the New York State Health Department over recent outbreaks of meningitis among men who have sex with men, Gay City News reports that New York City will buy 10,000 meningitis vaccine doses.
NYC will also reportedly launch a campaign to convince HIV-positive gay and bisexual men to take the vaccine. It should be noted, however, that a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesperson said “the agency would be buying ‘some’ doses, though the number was undecided, and the agency was still trying to figure out how and to whom the vaccine should be given.”
According to an alert distributed to healthcare providers, there have been 12 instances of meningitis among men who have sex with men since 2010:
Case investigations have identified factors that may increase susceptibility to IMD (invasive meningococcal disease), increase exposure to persons carrying Neisseria meningitidis (bacteria that causes meningitis), or both. Eight of the 12 cases were known to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Five reported using cocaine and/or crystal methamphetamine. Four reported using internet sites to meet men for sex. Three cases, however,were not known to be HIV-infected, did not report using drugs, and did not report using Internet sites to meet men for sex.
Of the 12 cases, four were reported in the last four weeks, one of which resulted in death.
Meningitis is “spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit (e.g., living in close quarters, kissing),” according to the Center for Disease Control. However, most people who are exposed to the bacteria will not become ill or develop symptoms.