July 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm EDT | by Staff reports
New York, Florida combating meningitis
Brett Shaad, meningitis, gay news, Washington Blade

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

Various states continue taking efforts to keep the deadly viral meningitis strain that’s been especially lethal among gay men at bay. According to a Gay Star News report, New York state lawmakers have voted to allow pharmacists to administer the vaccine while Florida officials have said men who have sex with men there should get the vaccine.

Of the 22 cases reported since 2010 in New York, seven have died as well as a California gay man who succumbed in April.

Meningitis is not sexually transmitted but can be transmitted by saliva and close contact like kissing, sneezing, coughing or living with an infected person.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene commissioner Thomas Farley said it was vital that barriers to vaccination were removed.

“Allowing pharmacists to offer vaccination against meningitis will save lives and pave the way for even greater access to vaccinations to fight childhood flu and other communicable diseases,” Farley said according to the Gay Star News report.

D.C. Health officials have been monitoring meningitis in the district for signs of connections to reported cases in New York and Los Angeles, however up to now health officials say no cases connected to the New York City outbreak among gay men have been reported in Washington.

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