Two new cases of meningitis confirmed, CDPH urges gay and bisexual men to get vaccinated

Thu. April 14, 2016 10:45 AM by News Staff

photo credit // howard brown health

Chicago Department of Health continues awareness and urges gay and bisexual men to get vaccinated against meningitis

Chicago, IL - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced earlier this week that two new cases of meningococcal meningitis have been identified in Chicago men. There are now nine confirmed cases from the Chicago area linked to last summer's outbreak, all in men who have sex with men (MSM), including one related death last June.

"Meningitis still poses a serious threat to all men who have sex with men in Chicago and if you have not been vaccinated within the last 5 years, you could be at risk," said CDPH Commissioner, Julie Morita, MD. "We are continuing our partnership with more than 80 community and clinical advocates to provide free and low cost vaccinations to protect our most vulnerable residents."

CDPH in a joint press conference with Howard Brown Health reminded the gay and bisexual community of the need for caution and the importance of vaccination. Though anyone can contract meningococcal meningitis, African-American MSM and MSM living with HIV continue to be disproportionately affected by this outbreak, according to officials. 

"Men who have sex with men and MSM who are HIV positive are at substantially higher risk than the general population of contracting a bacterial meningitis infection," said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health. "That's why we recommend to our clients and the gay, bi, and transgender community as a whole to get vaccinated to protect yourself and reduce or eliminate the chance that you can be infected with something as deadly as meningitis."

CDPH recommends that all men who have sex with men get vaccinated against meningitis.

Low- and no-cost vaccinations are available at 80 locations around the city. For a complete list of all Chicago locations where vaccines are available for little or no cost, visit the CDPH website.

Related: CDPH Meningitis Fact Sheet (PDF)