WEST HOLLYWOOD—A recent spike in cases of invasive meningococcal disease has the city of West Hollywood spreading the word that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued recommendations for vaccination.
According to a press release from Joshua Schare, Public Information Officer for the city of West Hollywood, the LA County Department of Public Health has confirmed 11 cases of IMD in 2016 in Los Angeles County as of Wednesday, July 6, excluding Pasadena, and Long Beach, which have separate health departments. All cases survived the infection.
A health alert was issued in late June by LA County Department of Public Health through the Los Angeles County Health Alert Network; vaccination recommendations are directed specifically towards men who have had sex with other men following a rise in IMD cases.
The city of West Hollywood is advising men who have had sex with other men take the initiative to act on the L.A. County Public Health recommendations and visit a primary-care or other health provider to get a vaccination against IMD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a common outcome of meningococcal infection is meningitis, which can be very serious or even fatal. While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, like brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities.
The symptoms of meningococcal meningitis can appear quickly or over several days, according to the CDC; symptoms typically develop within three to seven days after exposure and include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck.
More serious symptoms of IMD include, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion. Most of the bacteria that causes meningitis is not as contagious as a disease like the common cold or influenza; the bacteria is not spread by casual contact.
The following providers offers free vaccinations. Contact a provider directly to confirm vaccine availability:
- The Los Angeles LGBT Center McDonald/Wright Building,
Located at 1625 N. Schrader Boulevard, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-5855 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org.
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) AHF Men’s Wellness Center,
Located at 1300 N. Vermont Avenue, Suite 407, Los Angeles. For more information, call (866) 339-2525 or visit www.aidshealth.org.
- L.A. County Public Health
For a listing of clinics, call the L.A. County Information Line at 2-1-1 from any cell phone or landline from within Los Angeles County, or download a list (PDF) of clinics by visiting http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/Docs/meningitisclinics.pdf.
The following providers within West Hollywood provide vaccinations through health-insurance coverage; people without coverage will be required to pay out of pocket. Contact a provider directly to confirm vaccine availability:
- The Men’s Health Foundation and the Southern California Men’s Medical Group
(The Men’s Health Foundation has plans to provide free vaccinations as soon as possible, once an allotment is received from L.A. County Public Health). Located at 9201 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 812. For more information, please call (310) 550-1010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The MinuteClinic at CVS Pharmacy
Located at 8491 Santa Monica Boulevard. For additional information, please call, toll-free, (866) 389-2727 or visit http://www.minuteclinic.com/CA/Los-Angeles/West-Hollywood.aspx.
For more information about recommendations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the agency’s background of reports about meningitis, visit: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/DiseaseSpecific/dontswap.htm
For additional details and communications from the Los Angeles County Health Alert Network, visit:
For clinical information regarding IMD, visit the website for the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal
For more information about West Hollywood’s effort to encourage recommendations for vaccinating against IMD, contact Derek Murray, Social Services Program Administrator at (323) 848-6478. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, call TTY at (323) 848-6496.