In a continuation of the 2015 meningococcal meningitis C outbreak in Tuscany, health officials have reported a dozen cases and four deaths through Feb. 26, according to an Italian media account (computer translated).

 Gram-negative Neisseria meningitidis diplococcal bacteria/CDC
Gram-negative Neisseria meningitidis diplococcal bacteria/CDC

In 2015, 31 cases, including 6 deaths, attributable to serogroup C were reported. This compares to the two and three cases reported in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

The increase in cases has prompted health officials to extend the vaccination campaign to adolescents, adults and the elderly. In addition, they reiterated that the attendance of crowded rooms, alcohol use and smoking habits, at any time with an increase in cases of invasive meningococcal disease, may increase the risk of infection through close contact with potential carriers.

They did not however suggest recommendations against travel to the Tuscany region.

The National system of surveillance of invasive bacterial diseases has not revealed an increase in cases in other Italian regions, neither in 2015 nor in the early months of 2016. However, it could not rule out the spread in other regions.