Rare Disease That Kills 1 in 6 Infected People on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning about an increase in cases of a meningitis-inducing invasive disease that kills one in six sufferers.

Health officials issued an alert on Thursday for a spike in an invasive meningococcal disease, mainly attributable to Neisseria meningitidis, a rare bacterial infection. 

The bacterium can spread through actions such as kissing, coughing, sneezing, or otherwise being in close contact with people who have been infected.

The highest number of nationwide cases since 2014 — 422 — was reported last year. Now, there have already been 143 cases between the new year and March 25 — a significant jump from the 81 recorded cases from this time in 2023.

“This form is different than more common types in many ways – it’s deadlier, causes different symptoms and is striking much older patients than usual,” the Daily Mail reported, citing CDC data.

This current strain can cause blood infections, as well as typical meningitis symptoms such as fever, headaches, and achy bones. 

The health agency also noted that the strain is disproportionately impacting people aged 30–60, black people, and those who have HIV.

Middle-aged adults have made up 65 percent of recorded cases so far, which is notable because the infections are typically more common in babies, adolescents, and young adults. 

“Usually meningitis infections kill around 10 percent of patients — but the increasing strain has killed around one in six,” the outlet stated.

Out of the 94 patients with known outcomes, 17 have died so far according to the CDC.

The actual number could be higher once reports are finalized.

If one notices symptoms, officials have stressed that treatment must be quick and involve antibiotics.

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