Increase in Meningococcal Disease Cases Prompts Health Advisory

Meningococcal Disease: A Serious Bacterial Infection on the Rise in Chicago and Across the Country

Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the brain lining, spinal cord, and bloodstream. Health officials across the country are warning about a surge in cases of this disease, including in Chicago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory in response to this increase in cases. In Chicago alone, there have been eight reported cases of invasive meningococcal disease so far this year, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. This is an alarming trend as all eight reported cases had bloodstream infections, with four resulting in death.

The Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Olusimbo Ige emphasized the importance of monitoring the situation closely, as there is currently no common exposure identified among the Chicago cases. While the disease remains rare, its severe outcomes warrant awareness. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against meningococcal disease, much like with other illnesses such as COVID-19 and measles.

It’s important to note that meningococcal disease can be transmitted through the air or saliva but it is not as contagious as measles, flu or COVID-19. Symptoms are similar to the flu but can worsen rapidly including fever and chills, fatigue, vomiting, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing and diarrhea.

To protect themselves from this disease it is recommended that children aged 11 to 12 receive their first dose of the required meningococcal vaccine with a second shot administered at age 16. This vaccination schedule helps protect against meningococcal disease and reduce its spread in communities. It’s crucial that parents keep track of their child’s immunization records and ensure they are up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations to prevent any potential outbreaks from occurring again.

In conclusion while rare this bacterial infection poses severe outcomes which makes it important for individuals to stay informed about its symptoms and take necessary precautions such as getting vaccinated on time.

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