New strain of invasive meningitis on the rise in the U.S.

New strain of invasive meningitis

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a rare but serious bacterial infection on the rise in the U.S.

The CDC is advising doctors to watch for unusual symptoms from this invasive meningitis, which is said to be caused by a strain of neisseria meningitis bacteria. Further, in 2023 there were 422 cases reported in the U.S., the highest number of cases in any year since 2014.

As of the end of last week, approximately 143 cases have already been reported to CDC less than three months into the year 2024. That represents an increase of 62 cases over this time last year.

Typically, meningitis symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and a stiff neck. However, doctors are saying that many of the recent cases presented with bloodstream infections and roughly 4% had painful, infected joints.

Another atypical presentation of this condition is that the infections are striking middle-aged adults. Historically, meningitis infections strike babies, children and young adults.

The CDC says that they rate of mortality in these case is about 1 in 6 patients– representing a higher-than-normal fatality rate for these infections.

The CDC says immediate antibiotic treatment is critical.

As far as prevention, there is a meningitis vaccine which can be discussed with your primary care physician.

— with files from


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