Warnings are being given out in Los Angeles and New York, by health officials, to s**ually active gay men about the possibility of a deadly outbreak of meningitis. Los Angeles health officials are now testing gay men to establish if the virus that is infecting them is the same as the one in New York that has already killed 7 people since 2010 and infected 22.
Brett Shaad, 33, a West Hollywood lawyer, was declared officially brain dead last Friday, although he still remained on life support machine. Shaad started to feel sick just over a week ago. He is suspected to have caught the deadly disease during a party which he attended in Palm Springs during the weekend of March 30 and 31. The party attracts gays from all across the country.
Apparently, Shaad, went to an emergency room for a checkup on Wednesday and by Thursday he was in a coma. After the death of Shaad, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation started giving out free meningitis vaccines.
Bacterial meningitis is not classified as a s**ually transmitted disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention although the New York Daily News has started calling it an STD threat.
According to the CDC, the disease cannot be caught by casual contact but they say that it can be passed on by such things as kissing.
Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), said that they were not declaring an outbreak in Los Angeles at this time. He added that they knew the disease was a deadly one and that it could be transferred from person to person quite easily.
The disease is quick acting and symptoms will often appear within three to seven days of infection. Fever, stiff neck, nausea, headache, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and confusion are often signs of the disease.
According to John Duran, a West Hollywood Councilman, posters are being put up to warn of the disease. He said that this would probably be the first time for people who are under the age of 35 to have lost a friend to this type of disease so suddenly.
However, Duran added that his friends over 40 years of age are now starting to have a feeling of déjà vu, and remember the AIDS epidemic.