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Meningitis vaccines urged before NYC Pride events
The 2012 Gay Pride parade in New York. Health officials are urging men to be vaccinated against meningitis this year.
June 17th, 2013
06:23 PM ET

Meningitis vaccines urged before NYC Pride events

While meningitis has reached an all-time low in the United States, an op-ed in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine highlights cases of a deadly meningitis strain among men who have sex with men.

Cities including New York, Toronto, and San Francisco have launched public awareness campaigns to promote vaccination, but the authors also call on physicians to assess the risk to their patients and discuss the strain.

Since August 2010, 22 cases have been reported in New York City among men who have sex with men. More than half of those were already HIV positive. Seven men died.  In fact, in New York City last year, men who have sex with men were 50 times more likely than the general population to be infected with the virus, according to city health officials.

Meningitis can be spread by close contact such as kissing or sharing cigarettes. Early symptoms of infection can include flu-like symptoms, sepsis and rash. Death is common within 24 hours of first exhibiting symptoms.

And the disease isn't limited to New York. Four cases have also been reported in Los Angeles since December, officials said.

Public health officials are already sounding the alarm. In New York City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends that all men who have sex with men be vaccinated against the deadly virus, as it can be spread via intimate contact.  In New York state, insurers are mandated to cover the vaccine.

Since last October, the department has vaccinated more than 11,000 people and no new cases have been reported since February.

With upcoming Gay Pride festivities slated for the end of the month, health departments in other cities are advising those traveling to New York for the events be vaccinated. It's not the first time events have been targeted, as mass gatherings have been associated with outbreaks in the past. In fact, all those making pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Hajj are also required to be vaccinated.


soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Josh

    Meningitis is caused by a bacteria, not a virus.

    June 17, 2013 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nospam

      Actually there can be Bacterial or Viral causes

      June 17, 2013 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Both can cause meningitis.

      June 18, 2013 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Bacterial meningitis is caused by a bacteria, viral meningitis is caused by a virus. The more you know...

      June 18, 2013 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • Stefan

      Although meningitis can be caused by either, the linked pages refer to meningococcal disease, so this would be bacterial.

      June 18, 2013 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • PhysicsPhD

      Meningitis is nothing more that a description of an inflammation. It may be caused by infection (viral or bacterial), reaction to a substance, or temporarily through physical injury to the dura mater. While the information reported via the NYHD is not clear, the vaccine is meant to prevent infection via the Neisseria meningitidis pathogen.

      June 18, 2013 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Ethic's Board

      PhD is correct, as is Josh.

      Menactra and the like treat meningococcal bacterial induced meningitis. There is no vaccine for viral meningitis per se (though in theory, measles and influenza can cause encephalitis, but that's not what they are taking about)

      June 18, 2013 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • ToWit

      Meningitis can be either viral or bacterial. Since it is spread much more easily than STD's are, i.e., by mere casual contact, any large gatherings such as that expected in the upcoming Gay Parade could result in a greater transmission of the pathogen responsible for the meningitis infection. So, it's not that the participants of the upcoming event are gay, but, rather, that such event will bring very large numbers of people within close proximity to one another – all that is necessary given the spread by casual contact.

      June 18, 2013 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
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      June 19, 2013 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
  2. USA

    🙁

    June 17, 2013 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tom

    @ViK100, what a STUPID statement.

    MOST of the cases of HIV (which I'm sure is what you're referring to), has been spread by straight people, i.e. Africa.

    Please keep your narrow minded, uneducated opinions to yourself.

    June 18, 2013 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CarrotCakeMan

      No one is fooled by your anti-gay Hate Speech, "Chris Honry." The only thing you're accomplishing with this disgusting and disturbing Hate Speech is to demonstrate you take pleasure in hoping all LGBT Americans would get a disease, suffer and die. Most Americans find anti-gays disgusting and immoral–just what fool anti-gays TRIED but FAILED to sell to non-gay Americans about LGBT Americans!

      June 18, 2013 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
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    June 18, 2013 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. mike

    Perhaps most of them will not get vaccinated.

    June 18, 2013 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. CarrotCakeMan

    It's so disturbing to see the few remaining anti-gays tell us they take pleasure in their fantasy that all LGBT Americans might get some disease, any disease–and then suffer and die. This is one of the reasons why the anti-gay agenda has been destroyed, and the majority of Americans support marriage equality and equal rights for LGBT Americans.

    June 18, 2013 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NooYawkah

      Which will destroy the REST of America.

      June 18, 2013 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • dumbasfock

      You really have no idea what the term "few" means do you. Enjoy your sodomy and wishful thinking.

      June 18, 2013 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      "few"? LOL. The majority of Americans still don't think gays should "marry". They are correct.

      June 18, 2013 at 23:05 | Report abuse |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      What a pathetic anti-gay LIE, rob, fully 58% of Americans support marriage equality, the ABC/Washington Post poll tells us. Tough luck about your attempt to portray anti-gays are "the majority." The REAL majority of Americans just laugh at anti-gay LIES like that.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
  7. pauleky

    Yay CNN for allowing the ignorant haters a forum. Seriously, why do you allow comments on your articles at all? Every once in a while, decent discussion breaks out, but typically it's just the lowest lifeforms screeching.

    June 18, 2013 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pauleky

      Yeah, go ahead and call me a low lifeform. Now, get out of the basment – I bet your mommy needs her computer.

      June 18, 2013 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
  8. NooYawkah

    " It's not the first time events have been targeted, as mass gatherings have been associated with outbreaks in the past. In fact, all those making pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Hajj are also required to be vaccinated."

    Ya hear that, Muslims? CNN is equating Gay Pride gatherings with your annual pilgrimage to Mecca. You gonna take that?

    June 18, 2013 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CarrotCakeMan

      It looks like Muslims are smarter than you are, sweetie.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
  9. Jaime

    If the point of this article is that large gatherings of people, such as the upcoming Pride Parade, can spread meningitis, especially since there might be a bit of an outbreak in NYC, it hampers the message by starting out with gay male s$x. So sharing a cigarette can spread it... that's exactly like gay male s$x. Maybe you should warn against say, sharing your water (or liquor) bottle instead. That will probably spread it to more people than a couple of guys getting it on.

    June 18, 2013 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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  11. Bob

    And right after the gay pride parade, we're going to have a national repentance day to repent for not teaching our yung people that when you grow up, it's not nice to put your male parts inside another male, and if you are a male, you should have a wife. LIkewise to the girls.

    June 18, 2013 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toutesweet

      @Bob girls should also have a wife? Not nice? Ha ha. I thing there are many who would say it's very nice indeed. Where's the love?

      June 18, 2013 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      Wow, Bob, just how much time a day do YOU fantasize about "gay sex"?

      June 19, 2013 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    K-switch

    Are you responsible for spreading hate?
    ++++++++++++++++++

    No. I'm responsible for spreading the truth in love. Are you responsble for spreading error?

    June 18, 2013 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CarrotCakeMan

      No one is fooled by your anti-gay lies, Bob, except maybe you. Didn't you PAY some anti-gay Hate Cult for those lies?

      June 19, 2013 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • K-switch

      Notice that the original post I replied to is gone now. Pulled for violating TOS. Apparently CNN agreed with me.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
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    We need to save all gods creatures from extinction, We need to gather DNA from everything, Yes humans too, thanks to people, The whole world is in trouble, man Is suppose to be the smartest things on earth ,but they are far from it. They don't have the morals that nature gave us to up hold. Being gay, is inherited, from ,degenerate parents, There can only be one outcome, Extinction, that is the way life, has always worked out.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.