The New York City Health Department is investigating a case of meningitis outbreak that has infected four people of which one died and one is critically ill.

The department has said that the infections have been reported in gay men or in men who've had sex with men.

"Within the past four weeks, there have been four cases; one died and one person is in critical care. The cases are spread across several boroughs and among men ages 31 to 42 years old," the Health Department said in a statement Thursday.

According to the department, the common symptoms of the disease include high fever, headache, stiffness of the neck and rash. Symptoms usually occur within five days after exposure.

"This disease is spread by prolonged close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. Examples of prolonged contact include living in the same household or intimate activities, including kissing and sexual contact," the department said in a statement.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bacterial meningitis can be treated with antibiotics and an early treatment should lower the risk of dying from the infection to below 15 percent.

A meningitis outbreak that occurred in 2011 killed three women in New York City, the New York Times reported. The CDC says that between years 2003 and 2007, some 4,100 cases of meningitis had been reported in the U.S., 500 of which ended in death.