Lifestyle & Belief

Meningitis outbreak in HIV-positive men in New York


A variety of bacterial cultures grow in petri dishes.


Aventis Pasteur MSD

The New York City Health Department has alerted local doctors of an outbreak of deadly bacterial meningitis among HIV-positive men.

At least one person has died and another was hospitalized in critical condition from the outbreak in the past month, according to the Associated Press. Of 12 cases detected since August 2010, four people have died. The health department said four recent cases have all been among HIV-positive men.

"Since August 2010, we've detected 12 cases of this very specific strain but what we're most concerned about is that in the past four weeks there have been four cases and one of those cases has died," Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Jay Varma told the AP.

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Health department officials have released a statement saying any man experiencing a rash, stiff neck, high fever and headache should visit their primary care physician immediately, reported HealthAIM. The statement went on to say that the four confirmed cases so far have involved gay men or men that had previously had sex with another man.

The New York cases all came from different boroughs in the city, HealthAIM also noted. The men were between the ages of 30 and 45 and were all HIV-positive. The health department statement said that people with HIV are at a greater risk of getting meningitis than the rest of the population.