As a result of the recent meningitis outbreaks in West Hollywood, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health is recommending gay men in the Bay Area get the meningococcal vaccination seven to 10 days prior to having sex with gay men from Los Angeles.
The warning comes in response to an April 2 announcement from the L.A. County Department of Public Health that said eight people had been infected with invasive meningoccal disease since January. Four of those eight were gay men, and three of those four, ages 27 and 28, died of the disease.
San Francisco’s Department of Public Health reports no cases of meningitis involving gay men in the city since 2011. The L.A. County Health Department, however, says there have been 11 reported cases of meningitis involving gay men in Los Angeles County in the past 18 months.
Meningitis is spread by very close exposure to sneezing and coughing, or direct contact with saliva or nose mucus, as well as sex. Common symptoms include a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, severe headache, and vomiting. Rash may also occur. The symptoms usually develop within three to seven days of infection, but can take as long as 10 days to become present.