N.Y. expands meningococcal vaccine advisory

March 30, 2013 at 12:51 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y., March 30 (UPI) -- Officials at the New York State Department of Health expanded a New York City recommendation regarding meningococcal vaccinations for men having sex with men.

Earlier this month the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued meningococcal vaccine recommendations in response to an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease in New York City.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash, health officials said. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days.

Since 2010, 22 men residing in New York City and one man who resided outside the city, but spent significant time there, became ill and seven died, officials said

The recommendation by the state Department of Health expanded to include men having sex with men residing outside New York City who have traveled to the city and engaged in the risk behaviors described below since Sept. 1, 2012.

The following groups were as being at highest risk and advised to obtain a quadravalent meningococcal vaccination:

-- Men having sex with men, regardless of HIV status, who regularly have close or intimate sexual contact with men met via an online website, digital "app", or at a bar or party. Previously, meningococcal vaccination was recommended only for those with contact in certain high risk areas in New York City.

-- HIV positive individuals who do not have a healthcare provider.

Those whose healthcare provider does not currently have the meningococcal vaccine can find vaccinations and/or healthcare services at: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/resources/resource_directory/.

Other individuals can visit www.nysacho.org and use the directory to find contact information for their local health department, which also may have the vaccine.

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