Fourth meningococcal infection reported in Chicago, MSM urged to get vaccinated

Mon. June 8, 2015 3:49 PM

Howard Brown Health Center offering free meningococcal vaccinations

Chicago, IL - Last week, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed four cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Chicago area.

IMD is a rare communicable bacterial disease that can cause meningitis, a severe disease of the brain and spinal cord, and other potentially fatal conditions.

CDPH is now recommending expanded vaccination for this bacterial infection for the following groups: MSM who are HIV-positive, MSM regardless of HIV status who use online apps such as Grindr, A4A, Scruff, Jack'd, and MSM who have anonymous sex.

IMD is spread through intimate activities such as kissing and sexual contact or sharing drinks or cigarettes, smoking devices or marijuana. These bacteria are not as contagious as the viruses that cause the common cold.

Signs and symptoms include fever, headache and a stiff neck. Accompanying symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and altered mental status (confusion). If you are experiencing these symptoms please call your doctor or call 311.

The health advisory that Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) issued last week is still in effect. HBHC encourages those who fit into the target population to be screened, vaccinated and treated if necessary.

HBHC will offer vaccinations for low or no cost at its Sheridan, Aris Health or the Broadway Youth Center locations.

HBHC Clinic Hours:

Howard Brown Health Center Walk-In Clinic (No appointment needed), 4025 N. Sheridan Road: Monday - Thursday: Noon - 7 pm; Fridays: 9 am-12 pm, 1 pm - 4 pm; Saturdays: 9 am - 2 pm

Broadway Youth Center (Youth under Age 24), Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington (at Broadway): Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 3 - 7 pm; Wednesday: 10 am - 6 pm

Howard Brown Health Center Primary Care (Locations by appointment), Sheridan Road, 4025 N. Sheridan Road, and Aris Health, 3245 N. Halsted. Call 773.388.1600 to make an appointment. 

Related: City of Chicago Meningococcal Vaccine Locations