Bacterial Infection Cases on the Rise: Understanding Meningococcal Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued an alert to health care providers regarding a concerning increase in bacterial infections, specifically a strain of meningococcal disease that is currently circulating in the United States. Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis and can lead to severe symptoms such as meningitis and bloodstream infections.

A variant of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup Y has been particularly concerning, with 140 reported cases in 2024. This strain has primarily affected adults aged 30 to 60 years old, with a higher risk observed among Black and African Americans or individuals with HIV. The CDC has identified six known types of meningitis serogroups, with types B, C, W, and Y present in the US. The highest number of type Y cases was reported in 2023, with 422 cases.

Currently, Virginia is facing a statewide outbreak of meningococcal disease type Y, with 35 confirmed cases and 6 deaths reported since June 2022. Symptoms of meningococcal disease can vary but may include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, altered mental status in meningitis, and cold hands and feet, diarrhea, fatigue, rapid breathing, and a dark purple rash in bloodstream infections.

Health officials urge individuals to be vigilant, especially if they fall within the at-risk demographics. AhjanĂ© Forbes, a reporter at USA TODAY covering breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, and public policy stories, can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on social media for more information on this developing story. Stay tuned to Bio Prep Watch for further updates on this emerging public health concern.

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