The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) is investigating a cluster of potentially lethal invasive meningococcal disease among men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a news announcement.

Within the past four weeks, there have been four cases among MSM in the city, all of whom are HIV positive—one person died and another remains in critical condition. Over the past two years, an Associated Press story adds, there have been a dozen cases, a total of four of which resulted in death.  

Invasive meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can cause meningitis (infection of the thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord) or meningococcemia (infection of the blood). The infection can also cause pneumonia or involve the joints, such as the knees.

Common symptoms of meningitis are high fever, headache, stiff neck and rash that develop rapidly within two days. People that have been in prolonged close contact with infected people need to see their health care provider to receive preventive antibiotics. Similarly, those experiencing symptoms—which usually occur within five days of exposure—should seek medical care immediately.

To read the NYCDOHMH announcement, click here.
To read the Associated Press story, click here.