April 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Health officials monitoring meningitis cases
Brett Shaad, meningitis, gay news, Washington Blade

Brett Shaad, 33, died earlier this month from meningitis, prompting fears of a new outbreak.

SAN DIEGO — Health officials in several major cities have made recommendations to gay and bi residents in recent weeks about getting vaccinated against the meningitis that has killed seven men in New York since 2010 and two in Los Angeles since December.

In San Diego County seven cases of meningitis have been reported but that’s considered lower than normal, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reported last week. None of them involved men who have sex with men (MSM), the paper reported citing officials from the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency.

Toronto Public Health officials have urged residents there to get vaccinated if they plan on traveling to New York City, the Toronto Star reported last week, despite no known cases in Canada.

Officials in Dallas say they’re “monitoring” the disease, which results in an inflammation of protective membranes around the brain and spinal column and can result in headaches, flu, fever and nausea.

“We did not ring the bell quick enough with HIV,” said Bret Camp, a regional director with AIDS Healthcare Foundation Texas in a comment to Dallas Voice, a gay paper there.

In Washington, Whitman-Walker Health is advising all gay and bi men who “meet the criteria set forth by the New York City Department of Health” to be vaccinated.

The criteria are: “any gay man or MSM who is at least 18 years of age, regardless of HIV status and has had intimate contact with a man they met through a website (Manhunt, Adam4Adam, etc.), ditial application (Grindr, Scruff, etc.), a bar or a party since Sept. 1, 2012 or plan such contact in the future.”

Whitman-Walker patients can request the vaccine from their individual provider. Non-Whitman-Walker patients should contact their provider to be vaccinated.

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