Meningococcal disease: Health officials issue warning of rare, potentially deadly illness in Florida

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.

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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.

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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.

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The best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated.

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