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By DOH-Pinellas

June 15, 2022

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is responding to an outbreak of meningococcal disease. While dangerous, this illness can be prevented and treated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against meningococcal disease.

Thus far, the number of cases identified in 2022 surpasses the five-year average of meningococcal disease cases in Florida. Epidemiologists are investigating each case as well as contacting people with potential or direct exposure to known cases to provide them with information and treatment options.

This is a serious disease caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or flu. People do not catch the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been. It requires close contact over a period of time or direct contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, confusion, and rash. Anyone who has been exposed or develops symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider immediately.

The following groups should consider vaccination with a meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine during this outbreak:

  • College and university students.
  • Immunocompromised individuals.
  • People living with HIV.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • People in any groups listed above who received their MenACWY vaccine more than five years ago.

Find meningococcal vaccines, including the MenACWY vaccine, by contacting a health care provider or pharmacy. FDOH Pinellas also offers meningococcal vaccines at our vaccination clinics.

For more information about meningococcal s, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at, the FDOH website at, or call our main number at (727) 824-6900 and ask to be connected to our vaccination clinic.

For more information about DOH-Pinellas, go to or follow us on Twitter at @HealthyPinellas.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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