ORLANDO, Fla. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning of a rare, but potentially deadly disease in Florida.
Meningococcal disease is an illness that starts with flu-like symptoms but can infect the lining of the brain, the spinal cord or bloodstream.
The disease is spread through direct contact, like sharing a drink or kissing.
Health officials said the number of cases identified in 2022 surpasses the five-year average of meningococcal disease cases in Florida.
Doctors said the following groups are at the highest risk:
- College and university students.
- Immunocompromised individuals.
- People living with HIV.
- Men who have sex with men.
- People in any groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than 5 years ago.
The Florida Department of Health is investigating each case and contacting individuals who have been exposed.
Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, confusion and rash.
Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider immediately.
The best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated.
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