March 1, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

URGENT: Meningitis outbreak in LA County and Orange County turns deadly

Symptoms_of_MeningitisBY TROY MASTERS |  Two months after one gay man was diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease, 8 new cases have emerged in Los Angeles and Orange County. One has died from the illness.

See:  Cluster F*cking a Meningitis Outbreak, DPH’s slow response

At least six cases were caused by the same strain of meningococcal bacteria, leading health officials to call this more seriously an “Outbreak” rather than a less concerning “Cluster.”

Three of the 4 cases occurred within the past 6 weeks.  Men who have sex with men are being urged to get a meningitis vaccination. Some reports say that only 4 cases involved MSM. 

It is not clear why the health alert has only now been highlighted (it was first issued on June 24 though cases are reported as early as May), nor why it was initially an internal alert for medical staff only.

Four of the nine cases were among men who live in LA County, while the five additional cases were reported (4 in Long Beach and 1 in Orange County).  “This represents an increase above the typical number of reported cases,” a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said.

Several outbreaks and clusters of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men have been reported in New York City, Los Angeles County and Chicago since 2013, they added. The outbreak in New York in 2013 generated new concerns about an AIDS-like virus. A total of 22 men were infected there from 2010 to 2013, and seven of them died. Three people from Los Angeles and San Diego counties died of the disease in 2014, out of a total of 11 confirmed cases.  Outbreaks have also recently been reported, primarily among people were HIV-positive.

meningitisclinics
Click above for a PDF version of this image.

People with HIV are more susceptible to meningococcal disease. The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended this week that all HIV patients routinely receive meningococcal vaccines.

“We are concerned that gay and bisexual men in Southern California may be at increased risk for meningococcal disease,” state public health officer Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement. “We encourage men who partner with other men to be aware of the risk of meningococcal disease and consider getting vaccinated.”

Invasive meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that develops quickly and can lead to meningitis and sepsis, health officials say.  If not treated quickly, meningitis can cause permanent hearing loss, brain damage or even death.

The disease, which is fatal in about 1 in 10 patients, is spread by close contact with an infected person. It can be easily transmitted by kissing, through unprotected oral or anal sex and even by close proximity to an infected person who is sneezing and coughing. Even sharing a cigarette with an infected person is a potential risk factor, though most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or influenza.

The bacteria are not spread by casual contact.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also offers free meningococcal vaccine to L.A. County residents without health insurance. For a listing of clinics, please call the L.A. County Information Line at 2-1-1 from any cell phone or landline in Los Angeles County or visit  http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/Docs/meningitisclinics.pdf.

 

The Los Angeles LGBT Center will offer a State-funded no-cost meningococcal vaccine for high-risk community members beginning July 5, 2016 at its McDonald/Wright Building, located at 1625 N. Schrader Boulevard, Los Angeles.  Until the State-funded vaccines are available, HIV-positive patients at the Center receive the vaccine through their provider, and high risk HIV-negative patients may receive the vaccine for approximately $120 per dose, for a two dose series. For more information, please call (323) 860-5855 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org.

Symptoms begin within days of infection and include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, rash and generalized muscle pains.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation urged Los Angeles County health officials on Friday to develop a public information campaign, supply vaccines and work with community partners to avoid more deaths.

“We are calling on L.A. County Health officials to immediately roll out an aggressive, high profile and targeted public information campaign about this latest meningitis outbreak,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “We urge Los Angeles County and other affected health jurisdictions to quickly ramp up their supplies of vaccines and partner with the community in vaccination efforts as well as educating the community.

“We are ready and willing to partner with the county in vaccine and prevention efforts and will try to make vaccines available at our Southern California area AHF Wellness Centers next week,” Weinstein added.

AHF is providing vaccines at it’s Wellness Centers.

West Adams Carl Bean House
2146 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-766-2170

Hollywood
1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407
Los Angeles, CA 90027

AHF Healthcare Center Downtown
1400 S Grand Ave, ste 801
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213-741-9727

In April of 2014 AHF and West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran pressed health agencies to sound the alarm more directly and earlier to the gay community.

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/Docs/meningitisclinics.pdf

 

in HEALTH, NEWS
Related Posts

Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Shot And Her Dogs Stolen

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker, was the victim of a brutal robbery in West Hollywood Wednesday night.  30 year...

Anti-LGBTQ Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh Dies At 70 – E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 24th, 2021

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. ⁃ Rush Limbaugh Dead At 70...

APLA Health Announces PrEPexpress.org

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

APLA Health has launched the PrEPexpress.org (PrEP Express) website to help increase the uptake of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP...

Strut Bar & Club Announces Mural To Frontline Workers

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

Costa Mesa’s Strut bar and club has announced that it will dedicate a mural to the community of frontline workers...

WeHo’s Partial Ban On Tobacco Smoking In Apartments /Condos

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

The West Hollywood City Council, in a 4-1 vote,  approved a partial ban on smoking tobacco in apartment and condominium...

The Pride Poets’ Corner “Death Sentence” By: Victor Yates

February 11, 2021

February 11, 2021

In honor of Black History Month The Pride’s featured poem this month is by poet Victor Yates.  Yates is a...

Get the Most out of Your Tax Filing With Mofrad Financial Solutions

February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021

Local finance firm meeting the needs of small/medium sized businesses and individuals Tax season is fast approaching – and to...

Lesbian Police Officer Named Hero After Christmas Day Bombing- E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 10th, 2021

February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. * Lesbian Police Officer Named Hero...

Send A Valentine’s Day Card To A Child At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

February 7, 2021

February 7, 2021

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)  is giving people the opportunity to put a smile on children’s faces this Valentine’s Day. ...

Hal Holbrook, Actor Who Played Mark Twain, Dies At 95

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Hal Holbrook, the actor best known for his accurate portrayal of Samuel Clemens — better known as Mark Twain —...

Trans Pride Flag Crossing Coming to WeHo – E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 3rd, 2021

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. *Gay Black Man Stabbed Left In...

Black History Month: Celebrating Bayard Rustin

January 31, 2021

January 31, 2021

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Due to criticism...

WeHo Spreading The Word About COVID Vaccine

January 31, 2021

January 31, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that Los Angeles County residents who are 65 years old...

We-Drive Ins Opening New Location In Santa Monica

January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

WE Drive-Ins has announced the opening of an exclusive premiere drive-in experience featuring all new release films, with their newest...

Trailblazing Actress Cicely Tyson Dies At 96

January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

Iconic actress, former model and civil rights activist Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96.  Tyson’s manager Larry...