Homeless man's death spurs vaccination campaign in Boston

After a homeless Boston man died last week from meningococcemia, healthcare providers launched a vaccination campaign to prevent further deaths, according to a Boston Globe report.

Two other homeless men also recently contracted the bacterial infection. "The recent cluster of three cases has been unusual," Denise De Las Nueces, MD, medical director of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, told the Globe.

The cluster sparked Boston Health Care for the Homeless' vaccination campaign for the homeless and shelter workers. The nonprofit also passed out antibiotics to people who had interacted closely with the three men who were sick and issued alerts to hospitals in the area. The CDC provided 3,000 doses of the Menactra vaccine to Boston at no charge, according to the report.

Meningococcemia is a bloodstream illness caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria. The CDC calls it a "dangerous and deadly illness," and deaths can occur in as little as a few hours. Meningococcal disease outbreaks are rare in the U.S., but have happened in communities, schools, colleges, prisons and other populations, according to the CDC.

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