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Meningitis Outbreak in So. California

Free vaccines for at-risk individuals

By Working Nurse
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Southern California is currently experiencing an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). Some county health departments are now providing free vaccinations for those at highest risk.

Easily Transmitted

Meningococcal disease, a serious, potentially deadly bacterial infection, is normally rare, but between March and mid-August of this year, there have been 24 confirmed cases in Southern California. Two patients, both in Orange County, have died of the disease.

Most, though not all, of the infections have occurred among gay and bisexual men. The disease is transmitted through saliva, so it can be spread by kissing or by sharing drinks, food or cigarettes.

Because of the seriousness of IMD and the ease with which it can be transmitted, the health departments of the City of Long Beach and the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego recommend that all HIV-positive patients aged 2 months or older and all men who have sex with men receive quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccination if they have not previously received the vaccine within the last five years.

For HIV-negative patients, a single dose of MCV4 normally protects for about five years. For patients with HIV, the California Department of Public Health recommends two doses at least eight weeks apart. Spouses, romantic partners and others who have been in close contact with someone known to be infected should receive chemoprophylaxis.

Free Vaccinations

Both the Orange County Health Care Agency and County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health are currently sponsoring free MCV4 vaccination programs for high-risk individuals.
For additional patient and provider recommendations, click here.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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