UVA Health monitoring meningococcal disease outbreak in eastern Virginia

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 3:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - UVA Health is keeping a close eye on a meningococcal disease outbreak in eastern Virginia.

It says this rare illness has an unusually high mortality rate.

“The meningococcus is a particularly scary disease because it causes very severe and rapidly progressive disease,” Doctor Costi Sifri with UVA Health said Monday, March 27.

This outbreak is centered in the Hampton Roads area. There have been 12 cases since June 2022.

“It’s important outbreak because of the severity of illness caused three deaths, so far,” Dr. Sifri said.

The doctor says there are two high-risk communities: People 30-65, and African Americans.

The illness spreads through respiratory fluids, such as coughing and even sharing food utensils or cups. To protect yourself, Dr. Sifri says only use your own utensils, wash your hands, and get vaccinated.

“We’ve heard that 11 of the 12 individuals who’ve developed infection have not been vaccinated for the meningococcus,” the doctor said. “If you’re getting your normal school-aged vaccinations, you’re protected from from this infection.”

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