3 deaths reported amid Virginia's meningococcal outbreak

Three have died from complications due to a strain of meningococcal disease, according to a March 8 update on the ongoing outbreak from the Virginia Department of Health.

After increasing reports of meningococcal cases since June 2022, it was officially declared an outbreak by the state in September. Twelve total cases have been reported since June. 

The three deaths indicate that "this outbreak strain might cause more severe illness than is usually seen," according to the health department's news release. 

Health officials believe asymptomatic spread connects the cases. At this time, other commonalities in risk factors have not been identified. 

"Case-patients are all residents of Hampton Roads and most are Black or African American adults between 30-60 years of age," the release states. "Eleven patients were not vaccinated for meningococcal disease type Y, and one was partially vaccinated."

"We do believe the risk to the public is low, but we would encourage people, if they are unsure to still seek out their provider for prompt evaluation because prompt testing and diagnosis is essential to be quickly treated with antibiotics," Meredith Robinson, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, told WAVY News.

Additional updates from the department can be found on its response webpage.

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