New York Has Outbreak of Meningitis

New York City health department officials are amidst an investigation into the outbreak of meningitis in HIV-positive men. To date, there has been one death and another man is currently in the hospital with his status listed as critical.

Health department officials released a prepared statement that said any man experiencing a rash, stiff neck, high fever and a headache should visit their primary care physician immediately. In addition, the statement said that all four of the meningitis cases that have been confirmed thus far, involved gay men or men that had previously had sex with another male.

Meningitis is defined as a bacterial infection of the meninges, the membranous lining of the brain. The infection’s symptoms include but are not limited to a stiff neck, fever, headache and rash. Vomiting also can occur. If not treated, the infection could cause severe damage to the patient’s brain and possibly death.

Doctors said the disease starts very subtle and then progresses at a high rate of speed. One doctor said a person can go to bed early one night feeling as if they have the flu and the next morning are in a comatose state.

In New York, the four confirmed cases are in different boroughs within the city. The ages of the four men involved are between 30 and 45 and all are HIV-positive. In the statement prepared by the health department, officials said that people who have HIV are at a greater risk of getting meningitis than is the rest of the general population.

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