meningococcal meningits vaccine

NYC Meningococcal Meningitis Warning Released For Gay Travellers

Australian HIV/AIDS organisation ACON today released a travel health warning for gay men travelling to New York responding to extended presence of meningococcal meningitis within the gay community.

From the ACON website:

Gay and other men who have sex with men (GMSM) travelling to New York City (NYC) should vaccinate against invasive meningococcal disease or IMD (neisseria meingitidis) prior to leaving Australia, following an extended outbreak of the disease among NYC gay men.

While meningococcal bacteria, found in secretions from the nose and throat, is not easily shared, it is reported that “prolonged and extended exposure” can increase risk. Deep kissing is one way meningococcal can spread,  however sharing drinks, food or cigarettes are not considered risky.

Symptoms of meningitis can come on rapidly with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, rash, sensitivity to light and confusion.

Meningococcal disease is very serious. If you or a loved one are not feeling well it’s important to seek medical help quickly. If a house mate, partner or close contact has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis their close contacts will require treatment to avoid further illness.

The Australian Society of HIV Medicine (ASHM) has recommended all gay men travelling to NYC be vaccinated.

All unvaccinated MSM travelling to New York City or Brooklyn should be offered a meningococcal C conjugate vaccine (MenCCV) irrespective of their HIV status.

  • HIV negative MSM require ONE vaccine dose only.
  • HIV+ MSM require TWO vaccine doses given 8 weeks apart.

If you are currently planning a trip to NYC be sure to print this out and share with your doctor. A meningococcal vaccination may save you from significant illness.

Your in good health,

Dr George

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