US: Urgent meningitis vaccine protocol change for HIV+ people

Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Interim Director, Acute Communicable Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued a special meningitis vaccination alert to all HIV positive men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who have been previously vaccinated, as an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) continues in Southern California.

Schwartz hopes the message will help will save the lives of people with HIV and stop an outbreak of IMD that has continued unabated since a cluster was identified in March of 2016, including several cases in Los Angeles County, Long Beach and Orange County.

That cluster has grown and because the number of cases of IMD exceeds what health officials would typically expect over that period, officials are now referring to the cases as an outbreak.

DPH has issued new guidelines to health care providers and is stressing a more rigorous treatment protocol for men who have sex with men and all HIV positive individuals. 

They are now reporting that it appears a single inoculation is insufficient to protect HIV positive people from contracting IMD. Several cases occurred in HIV-positive men who had received only a single vaccine dose.

For an HIV positive person, even one who has a healthy immune system and who may be considered undetectable, contracting meningitis can be deadly. People living with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk for IMD. Read more via Los Angeles Blade