PSA: “A Duke student has been admitted to the hospital with bacterial meningitis, and the university announced it hopes to reach those who have come in close contact with the student.”

“Close contact is defined as direct exposure to saliva or throat secretions, the Duke Today notice said. Such contact could occur through sharing drinks, utensils or kissing, or by prolonged exposure to coughing, according to the announcement.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bacterial meningitis is very serious and can result in death or disability. On average, 4,100 cases and 500 deaths were reported annually in the United States between 2003 and 2007, according to one study on the CDC website, which also lists full symptoms and how various strains of meningitis can be spread.

“Students with questions, including those who have left campus for Thanksgiving, can contact Duke at 919-681-9355 or the Durham County Health Department at 919-560-7600.
[A Duke student is hospitalized after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, by Jane Stancill, November 19, 2018]

Cause and circumstances for this Duke student meningitis are unknown, but all known and unknown potential contacts must be notified and all potentialities announced. the reason for publication within this title.


Petechial rash in the legs, resulting from meningococcal meningitis

PSI: “Each year clusters of meningitis cases break out in the U.S. in the fall and winter months, particularly among adolescents and young adults.

“Individuals can spread meningococcal infection via saliva and respiratory secretions. The incubation period of meningococcal infection is three to four days, with a range of two to 10 days. Sneezing, coughing, and spitting are all modes of transmission.


“Sharing eating utensils can also spread the infection. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have a higher risk, and it is unclear if oral or anal sex plays a role in transmission. Any cases of meningococcal disease should be immediately reported to state health departments. The CDC closely tracks meningococcal disease through the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System and Active Bacterial Core Surveillance. 9

“Meningococcus is highly contagious among individuals in group living conditions such as dormitories, military barracks, day care centers, sleepaway camps, and boarding schools. Meningococcal carriage gradually develops from birth and peaks in adolescent and young adult years. Teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 are 13 times more likely to be carriers than are children younger than age 5. 7

“Studies show that carriage rates can be as high as 37% among students living in university dormitories and 71% in military recruits.7,9 Immunosuppressed individuals, persons without a spleen, persons with HIV/AIDS, and MSM have an increased risk for meningococcal meningitis.

“Infants and the elderly are susceptible due to their lack of strong immune defenses. Compared with Caucasians, African Americans have an increased risk of the disease. Cigarette and marijuana smoking increase susceptibility to disease, as does chronic lung disease.10,11

Some noteworthy outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis have recently occurred. On September 27, 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) alerted health care providers and the public about 12 cases of Neisseria meningitidis disease occurring in the city among MSM. By February 2013, 22 cases had been identified among MSM.

“All 22 patients were hospitalized, and seven deaths occurred. Another outbreak among MSM in New York City, Brooklyn, and Queens occurred in September 2014 and is currently under surveillance.12

“In March 2013, Princeton University experienced an outbreak of meningococcal disease, with eight cases reported among students. In November 2013, the University of California, Santa Barbara, reported four cases among students.13,14

“Worldwide, the incidence of meningitis due to N. meningitidis is highest in a region of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt,” which extends from Senegal to Ethiopia, and is characterized by seasonal epidemics during the dry season (incidence rate: 10 to 100 cases per 100,000 population), punctuated by devastating epidemics in eight- to 12-year cycles (incidence rates can be greater than 1,000 cases per 100,000 population).

“Across the meningitis belt, at least 350 million people are at risk for meningitis during these annual epidemics.2,15  [Meningococcal meningitis: Managing outbreaks among adolescents and young adults Theresa Capriotti, DO, MSN, CRNP, RN; Meghan Long, April 14, 2015 is for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, offering the latest information on diagnosing, treating, managing, and preventing medical conditions typically seen in the office-based primary-care setting.]


Officials don’t know why the disease is disproportionately impacting gay men in big cities. They’re getting the CDC involved to find out.

Meningitis, a rare and possibly fatal disease, has seen outbreaks in the nation’s three biggest cities in recent years. In Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, it has disproportionately impacted gay men, and officials aren’t sure why.

Since June 2015, there have been nine cases in Chicago, including one death — all impacting gay men. L.A. County has had 15 cases of meningitis this year — eight of those gay men. And New York City has had 22 cases — all among gay men — that resulted in seven deaths from 2010 to 2014.

“True, we are talking about 13 cases in L.A. But 13 cases is too many for a completely preventable disease,” said Robert Bolan, the medical director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. [Meningitis Outbreaks Among Gay Men Baffle Health Officials by Mattie Quinn, Aug 23, 2016, Governing, Health and Human Services]


Surge of STDs and Meningiococcal Menigitis in Men who have sex with Men.

Click on links or swipe and paste to search and read CDC and NMAUS Publications

Protect Patients From a Surge in STDs by Gail Bolan, MD January 16, 2018

Frequent Transmission of Gonorrhea in Men Who Have Sex with Men

Evidence suggesting that kissing contributes to gonorrhea transmission among men who have sex with men

Meningococcal Disease / Meningitis

Meningitis in gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM)

Meningitis in gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM)


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