After WeHo Patient Dies, Officials Remind Public Meningitis Not Just "Gay Disease" - NBC Southern California

After WeHo Patient Dies, Officials Remind Public Meningitis Not Just "Gay Disease"

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will give out 10,000 free meningitis vaccines starting Monday after West Hollywood man dies



    WeHo Rallies for Public Health After Meningitis Patient Dies

    Craig Fort and his friends gathered for a bake sale in West Hollywood to benefit Project Angel Food. A nurse, Fort said he's glad the word is spreading about how people can protect themselves against a potentially deadly strain of bacterial meningitis that killed a 33-year-old West Hollywood lawyer. Up to 10,000 free doses of the meningitis vaccine will be offered Monday in the city. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on April 14, 2013. (Published Sunday, April 14, 2013)

    The day after a West Hollywood man was pulled from life support after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, one of the city's councilmen urged the public not to classify the disease as only affecting one community because it's not contracted by having sex.

    During a Sunday afternoon conference call to announce a series of free vaccines across Los Angeles, West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran said no one is immune from the highly infectious disease.

    “Please don't call this a gay disease," Duran said during the press conference held by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. 

    The urgency to prevent the possible spread of meningitis comes after a West Hollywood realtor and lawyer Brett Shaad died days after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. His death came on the heels of a rash of outbreaks in New York that are connected to the gay community.

    Meningitis Scare in West Hollywood Prompts Free Vaccinations

    [LA] Meningitis Scare in West Hollywood Prompts Free Vaccinations
    Following the death of a 33-year-old lawyer from West Hollywood who was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis this week, the city is offering hundreds of free vaccinations to protect residents against the potentially fatal illness. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 14, 2013.
    (Published Sunday, April 14, 2013)

    Officials suspect Shaad contracted meningitis -- the inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord -- at the annual White Party, a gathering of thousands of gay men in Palm Springs over Easter weekend.

    Duran and doctors with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that it isn't only the gay community that is affected. Meningitis can be transmitted to anyone who comes into close contact with an infected person.

    Infections from the bacteria can be spread through kissing, sharing food, or respiratory secretions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

    "Just being gay has no impact on risk for getting infection," said Dr. Otto Yang, an expert in infectious diseases.

    The news comes as officials announced a series of vaccinations and offered tips on recognizing the symptoms, which include flu-like symptoms, sudden-onset fever and a headache.

    Last month, an Orange County teen had to have all her limbs amputated after contracting a bacteria that caused meningococcal meningitis during a trip to Tijuana. The disease cut off the blood flow to the teen’s toes and fingers, according to earlier reports.

    Tests were being done to determine if the strain of illness in Shaad's case is similar to the one that circulated among gay men in New York City and infected 22 people, resulting in seven fatalities, since 2010, the Associated Press reported.

    The following locations will offer the vaccine beginning Monday:

    AHF Pharmacy in West Hollywood
    8212 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, C.A. 90046
    Phone:: (323) 654-0907
    Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    AHF Pharmacy in Hollywood
    6210 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, C.A. 90028
    Phone: (323) 860-0173
    Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center
    1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407, Los Angeles, C.A. 90027
    Phone: (866) 339-2525
    Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    For additional information about the Aids Healthcare Foundation’s vaccine program, call 323-436-8900, ext. 5819.

    View AIDS Healthcare Foundation Gives Free Meningitis Vaccines in a larger map

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