Meningitis Spreading Via Gay Sex: Officials
Health dept. urges men to get vaccinated
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
New York City health officials are warning men who engage on anonymous gay sex to get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – New York City's health department is warning men who engage in anonymous, gay sex to get vaccinated against meningitis, ABC News reports. An outbreak has already killed seven New Yorkers and sickened 22, spreading mostly through men who meet at bars, parties, or online. "I urge all men who meet these criteria—regardless of whether they identify as gay—to get vaccinated now and protect themselves from this disease before it is too late," says the city's health commissioner.

It's not known which websites and apps are linked to the outbreak, but more than half of infected men have HIV—which weakens the immune system and more easily leads to severe infections. Bacterial meningitis infects the membranous lining of the brain and includes symptoms like fever, vomiting, and headaches; it can lead to brain damage or death if left untreated. (Read about an outbreak that killed at least 15 people and sickened more than 200 last year.)