New York City health officials report that in the past four weeks there have been four cases of invasive meningococcal disease, commonly known as meningitis, among gay men.
According to a release by the city one of the men has died, and another is presently in critical care. The patients have ranged in age, from 31 to 42 years old, and ‘the cases are spread across several boroughs.’ New York City is comprised of five boroughs, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The men have been HIV positive.
‘People living with HIV are at a greater risk than the general population of acquiring invasive meningococcal disease and if infected, dying from infection,’ the city said in its release.
Meningitis, as described by the city’s health department, is ‘a severe bacterial infection that has a high fatality rate.’ It’s spread by close contact with nose and throat discharges from a person who is infected. Close contact consists of ‘living in the same household or intimate activities, including kissing and sexual contact.’
Symptoms of infection include high fever, headache, stiff neck, and a rash that quickly develops within two days. People showing these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.
An article by Gay City News notes that since 2010 Aug. there have been 12 cases of meningitis in New York City’s gay male population.