Source: Miami Herald
By: Rothaus, Steve
The Florida health department warns that men who have sex with men should protect themselves against contagious bacterial meningitis, especially those who recently traveled to California or New York. Both states have reported several fatal meningitis cases this year. Bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, can spread though casual contact, including kissing, sneezing, and sharing drinking glasses. Prolonged contact, however, is usually needed to contract the disease, the health department says. Although bacterial meningitis is not sexually transmitted, individuals with compromised immune systems, including those who have HIV, are especially vulnerable. Patients with symptoms such as fever, fatigue, sensitivity to light, a rash, or neck stiffness should go to the emergency room. Care Resource, Miami-Dade County’s largest AIDS agency, has reported no outbreak of meningitis cases in South Florida. The best protection against bacterial meningitis is the vaccine, available at public heath centers. Patients who have been vaccinated in the past may want to get a booster shot, especially if they have compromised immunity.