Outbreak Alert: Meningococcal Disease Kills 5 In Virginia

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Twenty-seven people have been infected with meningococcal disease and another 5 have died in Virginia. The disease is “rare but” causes “serious illness.”

This outbreak, caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis type Y, has been reported in eastern, central, and southwest Virginia since June 2022, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The outbreak is “statewide” and only one person was vaccinated for Neisseria meningitidis type Y out of the 27 reported cases.

“This development is three times the expected number of cases during this time period,” the department said in a news release Wednesday. Most of the cases are in residents of eastern Virginia, where a regional outbreak was first announced in September 2022, according to the release. There were three deaths and 12 cases reported in the most recent alert from the department in March 2023, prior to Wednesday’s notice.

Meningococcal disease refers to any sickness caused by Neisseria meningitidis, CNN previously reported. The infection can lead to both meningitis and a serious infection of the bloodstream called septicemia, or blood poisoning.

The bacteria can spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions and typically occurs via kissing, coughing, sneezing, or living in close contact with others who are infected.

Symptoms can mimic the flu or COVID-19 and include a headache, fever, nausea or vomiting, brain fog, sensitivity to light, sleepiness or trouble waking, a stiff neck, and possibly a skin rash. -CNN

“Doctors treat bacterial meningitis with a number of antibiotics. It is important to start treatment as soon as possible,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Certain germs that cause bacterial meningitis, such as L. monocytogenes, can spread through food. But most of these germs spread from one person to another. How people spread the germs often depends on the type of bacteria. It is also important to know that people can have these bacteria in or on their bodies without being sick. These people are “carriers.” Most carriers never become sick, but can still spread the bacteria to others. –CDC

The CDC and mainstream media are pushing vaccines as a preventatitve measure. The Virginina Department of Health says that you should not share lipsticks, toothbrushes, or vapes, and that you should practivc good hygiene.

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