HSE have ruled out adopting the UK’s meningitis vaccine approach
Opting not to follow the example set by the UK’s vaccination programme against meningitis in school-leavers, the HSE have cited slow increase rates of meningitis cases in Ireland as the basis for their decision.
“To date, we are not seeing the marked increase that is evident there in recent times,” a spokesperson for the HSE explained.
The HSE representative said that the authority was aware of increased rates of meningitis cases within the UK, and was keeping the rates of meningitis cases under observation.
The number of meningitis cases reported in Ireland has been decreasing for the past four years, after the introduction of the meningitis C vaccine in 2010.
There has been a public health warning issued in Los Angeles urging gay men to get vaccinated against meningitis due to an outbreak of the disease which is affecting gay and bisexual men.
The infection can be spread through saliva, leaving those who kiss an infected person susceptible to acquiring meningitis.
However, health authorities are at a loss as to why gay and bi men might be disproportionately affected by the outbreak.
According to the LA Times, of the 13 cases of meningitis in LA County, 7 of those infected with meningitis were gay men.
Many of the patients were infected by the same strain of meningococcus, type C.
The outbreak amongst gay men might be tied to a particular subset of gay culture, suggests Dr. Jay Gladstein an LA internal medicine doctor, related to gay men meeting for anonymous sex, a practice which has been catalysed by gay hook up apps.
Last year the NHS increased the number of strains that their meningitis vaccination programme protected against following a sharp increase in cases of the infection which can be deadly.
In particular, a tenfold increase in meningitis W cases since 2010 in the UK has been reported.
The extension saw the inclusion of the A, C, W and Y strains of meningitis in the programme which covers adolescents from these strains.
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable as students frequently socialise with people they are not familiar with who may be carrying the contagion.
The W strain of meningitis has a fatality rate of 10% and can lead to long term health problems like deafness, epilepsy and amputations for those who are not killed.
(Image: By John Keith (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
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