Warning as deadly invasive bacterial disease cases that can leave patients deaf reach 10-year high

The CDC has issued a warning that cases of meningococcal disease are reaching their highest level in 10 years, with doctors advising anyone experiencing symptoms to go to the doctor right away

Watch out for meningitis symptoms as they can be fatal, or leave you with permanent hearing loss (stock image)(Getty Images)

An alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of a terrifying increase in invasive bacterial infections that can leave individuals deaf.

Last year, cases of meningococcal disease, mainly caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, hit 422, the highest annual number since 2014, according to the CDC’s alert. This year, 143 cases have been reported to the CDC (as of March 25), which is 62 more than last year. The strain causing most of the cases was serogroup Y ST-1466. The CDC said the infectious disease mostly affects adults aged 30 to 60 (65 per cent of cases).

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It also affects Black or African American people (63 per cent) and people with HIV (15 per cent) at higher rates, the CDC added. This strain seems to be deadlier than strains from previous years. Out of 94 patients, 17 died from the infection, a fatality rate of 18 per cent.

Between 2017 and 2021, the fatality rate of meningococcal disease was 11 per cent. The usual fatality rate is between 10 per cent to 15 per cent, even with antibiotic treatment. One in five survivors can suffer long-term disabilities like deafness, brain damage, limb loss or other nervous system problems.

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Meningitis can cause deafness, among other permanent damage(Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)

Dr Barbara Bawer, a primary care doctor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Fox News Digital: “I think this is a concern, especially because of the steep rise in cases all of a sudden and because this particular strain has had a higher case fatality than in previous increases of this disease.”

The US-based CDC describes meningococcal disease as a “rare but severe illness,” It often causes symptoms like fever, stiff neck, headache, sickness, sensitivity to light or altered mental state.


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