Central Florida leaders warn of 'aggressive' meningococcal disease spreading across state

Central Florida leaders warn of ‘aggressive’ meningococcal disease spreading across state

A Florida lawmaker calls on the experts for an important virtual discussion Tuesday evening.It’s about meningococcal disease and monkeypox outbreaks affecting our community.Health officials are investigating at least 24 cases of meningococcal disease, including seven deaths among gay and bisexual men in Florida.”The CDC has called this moment that we’re in right now, this outbreak in Florida is one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease amongst gay and bisexual men in U.S. history,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orange County said.But anyone can still get the disease, not just gay or bi men.Smith called for this community health update to educate.“We have a good vaccine readily available at no cost to those who are at risk that can protect against any further disease,” said Alvina Chu, director for the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Health Orange County said.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says meningococcal disease can first appear as a flu-like illness. Symptoms include fever, muscle ache, headache, stiff neck and sensitivity to light.”It is aggressive and if you are having symptoms and you think you were exposed, you should immediately seek care,” Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health Orange County, said.He said if untreated, the disease can result in poor outcome or death.Meningococcal is transmitted by droplets usually by people who are in close contact with each other, for example in dorms, prisons, colleges.”The good news is, if treated properly, all those bad outcomes can be prevented,” Pino said.As for monkeypox, there have been 605 cases reported in 34 states. In Florida, there have been 72 cases. Monkeypox is a viral disease.It is called monkeypox because it was first identified in laboratory monkeys.“People get very bothered by the skin lesions that may develop. It’s not as infectious and it’s not fatal. So the advantages of course, always call your provider,” Pino said.“People are heeding the warning and they are being vaccinated,” said Dr. George Wallace, executive director of the LGBTQ+ Center in Orlando.Wallace said they’ve held pop-up vaccination events for meningococcal and hepatitis.”Please just go out and get that vaccine. I had it done, little pain in the arm but it’s better than dying,” Wallace said.

A Florida lawmaker calls on the experts for an important virtual discussion Tuesday evening.

It’s about meningococcal disease and monkeypox outbreaks affecting our community.

Health officials are investigating at least 24 cases of meningococcal disease, including seven deaths among gay and bisexual men in Florida.

The CDC has called this moment that we’re in right now, this outbreak in Florida is one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease amongst gay and bisexual men in U.S. history,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orange County said.

But anyone can still get the disease, not just gay or bi men.

Smith called for this community health update to educate.

We have a good vaccine readily available at no cost to those who are at risk that can protect against any further disease,” said Alvina Chu, director for the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Health Orange County said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says meningococcal disease can first appear as a flu-like illness. Symptoms include fever, muscle ache, headache, stiff neck and sensitivity to light.

It is aggressive and if you are having symptoms and you think you were exposed, you should immediately seek care,” Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health Orange County, said.

He said if untreated, the disease can result in poor outcome or death.

Meningococcal is transmitted by droplets usually by people who are in close contact with each other, for example in dorms, prisons, colleges.

“The good news is, if treated properly, all those bad outcomes can be prevented,” Pino said.

As for monkeypox, there have been 605 cases reported in 34 states. In Florida, there have been 72 cases. Monkeypox is a viral disease.

It is called monkeypox because it was first identified in laboratory monkeys.

“People get very bothered by the skin lesions that may develop. It’s not as infectious and it’s not fatal. So the advantages of course, always call your provider,” Pino said.

“People are heeding the warning and they are being vaccinated,” said Dr. George Wallace, executive director of the LGBTQ+ Center in Orlando.

Wallace said they’ve held pop-up vaccination events for meningococcal and hepatitis.

“Please just go out and get that vaccine. I had it done, little pain in the arm but it’s better than dying,” Wallace said.

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