FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT IN LEVY COUNTY ADVISES ON MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE AND VACCINES IN FLORIDA | Local News

Tallahassee — The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is responding to an outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida. However, it can be prevented and treated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against meningococcal disease.

So far, the number of cases identified in 2022 exceeds the 5-year average of meningococcal disease cases in Florida. FDOH epidemiologists investigate each case and contact people potentially or directly exposed to known cases to provide information and treatment options.

The following groups should consider vaccination with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) during this outbreak:

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College and university students;

immunocompromised people;

people living with HIV;

Men who have sex with men;

People in any of the groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than 5 years ago.

Find meningococcal vaccines, including the MenACWY vaccine, by contacting a health care provider, county health department, or pharmacy. FDOH offers meningococcal vaccines. For more information, visit Levy.floridahealth.gov or call 352-486-5300; Dixie.floridahealth.gov or call 352-498-1360; Gilchrist.floridahealth.gov or call 352-463-3120.

It is a serious disease caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis. Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as the germs that cause colds or the flu. People don’t catch the bacteria by casual contact or by breathing in the air where a person with meningococcal disease has been. It requires close contact over a period of time, or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion, and rash. Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider. It is a rare but potentially devastating disease.

For more information on meningococcal disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or the FDOH website.