Wednesday, April 17, 2013

AIDS Healthcare Foundation Says It Is 'Dismayed' by L.A. Health Dept.'s 'Indifference' Toward Meningitis Cases

Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old gay lawyer from West Hollywood, Calif., died Saturday, after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis on Wednesday. Turns out he was not the first in Southern California.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) released the following statement in response to a press conference given today by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department and its Director, Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH:
"While AHF applauds the County for offering the vaccine to low-income and uninsured residents, we are disappointed that the L.A. County Public Health Department is not urging people to get vaccinated. We believe it shows an insensitivity to the population involved and to the understandable concerns they have," said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "How many deaths will there need to be before the County will acknowledge these incidences as an outbreak? The County has known since December and has done nothing to alert the community. The fact that these cases have been shown to be linked to the outbreak in New York should have set off alarm bells, but the L.A. County Public Health Department remains indifferent."  
There were 12 cases of meningococcal meningitis reported in Los Angeles County in 2012 and 9 reported in 2013. Since November 2012, there have been 4 infections among gay men (or men who have sex with men), 2 of which have resulted in death. Of the 4 cases among gay men in Los Angeles County since November, 3 have been shown to be an 85% likely match to the strain of meningococcal meningitis that is affecting gay men in New York.

AMERICAblog has more HERE.

Rjay Spoon, 30, of downtown Los Angeles died on Dec. 16; and an unidentified 30-year-old San Diego State University student who lived in Chula Vista (San Diego County) died on Dec. 10.

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