November 29, 2012 – The Health Department issued new recommendations today for vaccinating against invasive meningococcal disease – commonly known as meningitis – after an increase in cases. Vaccinations are now advised for men, regardless of HIV status, who have had intimate contact with another man that he met through a website, digital application (“App”), or at a bar or party since September 1, 2012 AND live in the following neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, East New York, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg.
Two new cases of meningitis among men who have sex with men were reported over the past five weeks, bringing the total to 11 cases over the past 12 months. Many of the reported cases involve men who live in the aforementioned Brooklyn neighborhoods.
The Health Department continues to recommend vaccinations for any New York City man who is HIV-positive and has had intimate contact with another man that he met through a website, digital application (“App”), or at a bar or party since September 1, 2012. Individuals who meet some, but not all, of the criteria are advised to discuss their need for vaccination with their health care provider.
Vaccination prevents, but does not treat current infection. Common symptoms of meningitis are: high fever, headache, stiff neck, and rash that develop rapidly upon onset. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days. People who experience these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
People should first ask their health care provider if they have the vaccine. For those who cannot obtain the vaccine from their health care provider, Health Department clinics can administer the vaccine. Locations are listed here.
To find a location to get a vaccine, call 311. For more information, search “meningitis” at www.nyc.gov.