gothamist_health_master_small.jpgIt seems the meningitis bug that hit Brooklyn last March is still hanging around and causing trouble. So far this week, one person, Geraldine Stafford, has died from the illness while two other residents of her apartment building at 940 Gates Avenue in Bed-Stuy have been hospitalized. This includes a 12-year-old girl whom the disease has placed on a respirator at Woodhull Hospital. Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, which are protective layers which cover our brains and spinal cords. The infection typically starts elsewhere in the body, usually as a sinus or lung infection, and if left untreated, can have disastrous consequences. Now that we’ve sufficiently freaked you out, more sober health officials caution that only those in close, prolonged contact with those already infected need worry. And while authorities are not sure how the outbreak began, it may be related to a cookout last Saturday that the afflicted attended.

Symptoms to be on the lookout for include fever, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, eye sensitivity to light, and a rash. On the bright side, a meningitis vaccine is available and is recommended as prophylaxis for those living in tight quarters where intimate contact with others is the norm (dorms, army barracks, underground bunkers).

Click here for more information from the CDC on meningitis and the vaccine.