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New York: HIV positive men at risk over meningitis outbreak

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  1. Correction – all HIV afflicted individuals are at risk.

  2. This story concerns me because of the lack of detail, which could be very pertinent to the deaths relating to HIV infection & bacterial meningitis.

    Firstly I have not seen this reported on reputable HIV sites such as Aidsmap,, or All these sites provide up to date newsfeeds on issues like this. Perhaps PN is infront of the pack on this one!

    Secondly we do not know if the indivuduals who became ill (& those who sadly died) were on stable treatment & had a CD4 cell count above 500. The “normal range CD4 cell count for an HIV neg individual count can be between 400 to 1600.

    A CD4 cell count below 200 is the point where the immune system is said to be very compromised & there is a greatly increased risk of becoming very ill through opportunistic infections developing.

    1. Whilst HIV can weaken the immune system the risk to +ve people needs to be quantified in clinical terms via viral load, CD4 cell count & if there were any other underlying conditions present.

      I do not believe it is reasonable to suggest that HIV positive individuals who have a good CD4 count, have an undetectable viral load & are otherwise well are at greater risk of contracting bacterial meningitis than the general population.

      Bacterial meningitis can be fatal within 24hours of the symptoms developing, with sepsis quickly setting in which rapidly causes organ failure – sadly I know of a very healthy HIV neg man who died in the UK two yrs ago – I think it is fair to say that anyone can contract this illness.

      I would like more information to clarify the situation regarding the clinical aspects relating to the deaths reported.

  3. Spanner1960 28 Sep 2012, 10:19am

    Meningitis is fast and it is lethal.
    I have known two people die from it very quickly. One felt bad and went home early on Friday afternoon, and by Sunday evening they were dead.

    If you have any flu like symptoms and/or a rash, check immediately, and if you are unsure call a doctor.

  4. Well done PN for being ahead of the pack as I note that have now reported this story.

    The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are still investigating the latest cluster that has been identified & as of yet there is no information about the clinical back ground of those who have died as a result of infection with bacterial meningitis.

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