Meningitis in Florida, USA

19 April 2022

Article: 56/1503

On 7 April 2022, the Florida Department of Health reported that it was responding to an outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida. So far, three cases in students have been identified at the University of Tallahassee.

Meningococcal meningitis is an acute disease, caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides that can cause serious systemic infection. It is spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions.

Advice to travellers

Risk of infection for most travellers is very low, particularly for package tourists. Risk is increased for those travelling to a region with an ongoing epidemic: 

  • who anticipate close, prolonged contact with the local population 
  • who plan to visit overcrowded areas, such as busy market places, or use public transport 
  • to attend a mass gathering event 
  • if they have immunodeficiency including asplenia

All travellers should be aware of the risk of meningococcal disease, its transmission routes and symptoms, and are advised to avoid overcrowded areas and pay strict attention to respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene measures.

Further information on meningitis can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Source: TRAVAX, 13 April 2022