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Florida's Fatal Meningococcal Outbreak Slows Down

September 18, 2022 • 11:14 am CDT
by Michelle Raponi
(Vax Before Travel)

The state of Florida Health Department recently published its Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) report for August 2022, which offered insights into meningococcal, varicella, and hepatitis A outbreaks.

Hepatitis A activity decreased from July 2022 and was below the previous 5-year average.

However, 16 adult cases were reported in August, with 56% of patients found not up-to-date on hepatitis A vaccinations.

And the varicella activity decreased from last month. Most of the 33 cases reported in August were less than five years of age.

Unfortunately, 73% of these children were not up-to-date on varicella vaccinations or had unknown vaccination status.

The best news from the new VPD report was meningococcal disease activity decreased, with just two adult cases reported in August 2022.

In 2022, there have been 50 meningococcal disease cases were reported in 17 Florida counties, the most cases in many years.

Additionally, 12 deaths were identified in Florida as associated with meningococcal disease.

According to the U.S. CDC, about 10% of people with meningococcal disease may die.

And up to 20% of survivors will have long-term disabilities, which may include: loss of limb/s, deafness, nervous system problems, and brain damage.

The best protection against meningococcal disease is keeping up-to-date with recommended vaccines.

There are currently two types of meningococcal vaccines available in the USA.

As of September 18, 2022, the CDC recommends meningococcal disease vaccination for all preteens and teens and others at increased risk of meningococcal disease.

And the CDC recommends meningococcal conjugate vaccination for people traveling to or living in the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa. 

These vaccines are generally available at local pharmacies and clinics in the USA.

In the Tampa, Florida, area, these clinics include PassportHealth-Tampa.