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Meningitis Outbreak

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Don’t Let Your Guard Down

In the US, meningitis is currently enjoying a 10-year high, with its highest levels of infection since 2014.

This is a big deal, given the 10–15% fatality rate of meningitis, even with appropriate medical treatment.

But of course, not everyone gets appropriate medical treatment, especially because symptoms can become life-threatening in a matter of hours.

Most recent stats gave an 18% fatality rate for the cases with known outcomes in the last year:

CDC Emergency | Increase in Invasive Serogroup Y Meningococcal Disease in the United States

The quick facts:

❝Meningococcal disease most often presents as meningitis, with symptoms that may include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, or altered mental status.

[It can also present] as meningococcal bloodstream infection, with symptoms that may include fever and chills, fatigue, vomiting, cold hands and feet, severe aches and pains, rapid breathing, diarrhea, or, in later stages, a dark purple rash.

While initial symptoms of meningococcal disease can at first be non-specific, they worsen rapidly, and the disease can become life-threatening within hours. Immediate antibiotic treatment for meningococcal disease is critical.

Survivors may experience long-term effects such as deafness or amputations of the extremities.❞

~ Ibid.

The good news (but still don’t let your guard down)

Meningococcal bacteria are, happily, not spread as easily as cold and flu viruses.

The greatest risks come from:

  • Close and enduring proximity (e.g. living together)
  • Oral, or close-to-oral, contact (e.g. kissing, or coughing nearby)

Read more:

CDC | Meningococcal Disease: Causes & How It Spreads

Is there a vaccine?

There is, but it’s usually only offered to those most at risk, which is usually:

  • Children
  • Immunocompromised people, especially if HIV+
  • People taking certain medications (e.g. Solaris or Ultomiris)

Read more:

CDC | Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations

Will taking immune-boosting supplements help?

Honestly, probably not, but they won’t harm either. The most important thing is: don’t rely on them—too many people pop a vitamin C supplement and then assume they are immune to everything, and it doesn’t work like that.

On a tangential note, for more general immune health, you might also want to check out:

Beyond Supplements: The Real Immune-Boosters!

The short version:

If you or someone you know experiences the above-mentioned symptoms, even if it does not seem too bad, get thee/them to a doctor, and quickly, because the (very short) clock may be ticking already.

Better safe than sorry.

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