The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that meningococcal disease is increasing, and it’s causing concern among some health professionals. Data indicates that there are 422 confirmed and probable cases in the U.S., the largest number reported since 2014.

Nathan Koffarnus at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said that the CDC sent out an alert to raise awareness.

“It’s popping up in a little bit different population than what we typically see with meningococcal disease,” he said. “It’s a little bit older group. They’re seeing more cases in 30-to-60-year-olds and then there’s also an increased frequency of African Americans in that group and also folks with HIV infection.”

The most common symptoms include fever, headache, and stiff neck, with other possible symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

Koffarnus said that the disease is a rare and potentially fatal illness.

“About 10-20% of those who get meningococcal disease would pass away, even with proper treatment which includes antibiotics,” he said. “So, it’s a pretty severe illness. Thankfully, not super common, but it’s just one we worry about and try to do a lot to prevent because of the severe consequences.”

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