MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Ramsey County man’s death from meningitis has the Minnesota Department of Health urging men who have sex with men to get vaccinated.
There have been meningococcal meningitis outbreaks in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles recently, affecting gay and bisexual men in those metro areas.READ MORE: Twin Cities Jazz Festival Returns In June
The Minnesota individual who died in mid-July was in his 40s. He was also HIV-positive, the health department said, which put him at a greater risk of serious illness from the meningococcal meningitis.
The man contracted serogroup C Neisseria meningitis, which was also detected in the Chicago outbreak, which resulted in seven cases and one fatality. It progresses quickly and can be fatal in 10 to 15 percent of cases, the health department said.READ MORE: Both Directions Of I-94 Closed Near Albany Following Fatal Crash, Serious Backup Collision
It can be spread through droplets of saliva or nasal secretions, which includes kissing, sharing drinking containers, or cigarettes.
“We believe that the MSM (men who have sex with men) community in Minnesota may be at increased risk for meningococcal disease,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the MDH’s infectious disease division. “We want to try to head off the possibility of an outbreak occurring here, so we strongly encourage all MSM, especially those who are HIV-positive, to go get vaccinated.”MORE NEWS: COVID In Minnesota: Nearly 1,000 New Cases, 15 More Deaths Reported Ahead Of Expected Teen Vaccine Expansion
The health department said a number of clinics participate in their adult vaccine program for the uninsured or underinsured.