Meningococcal Disease Rising in Patients with HIV - European Medical Journal

Meningococcal Disease Rising in Patients with HIV

CASES of meningococcal disease spiked in people with HIV last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This data showed that nearly one in 10 cases of meningococcal disease occurred in patients with HIV in the USA in 2022. While two doses of the meningococcal vaccine have been recommended for this population since 2016, coverage remains low, prompting the CDC to remind healthcare professionals of the importance of ensuring that all patients with HIV are fully vaccinated.

These findings are based on preliminary data from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), as well as information from enhanced disease surveillance. While in the previous 5 years, 5–15 cases of meningococcal disease were reported among patients with HIV, representing 1.5–4.3% of all cases, last year there were 29 diagnoses, representing 9.8% of all cases. Out of these cases, 28 were patients who were unvaccinated, or with unknown vaccination history. One patient was vaccinated; however, it is not known if they received both doses.

Last June, a large and deadly outbreak of the disease led the CDC to urge all gay and bisexual males in Florida, USA, to get vaccinated. The team noted that there would still have been a significant increase in the disease without including the cases linked to the outbreak. In total, 14 cases were not associated with the outbreak, including nine caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup Y. The majority of these patients (eight) were African-American or Black, and seven patients were males who reported intercourse with males.

The team wrote: “[G]iven the recent increase in meningococcal disease cases in this population, healthcare providers should ensure that all persons with HIV are up to date with MenACWY vaccination… as well as other vaccines recommended for this population.” They also encouraged healthcare providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for meningococcal disease among patients with HIV who show symptoms of the disease.

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