SF Health Dept. Issues Meningitis Warnings Aimed At Some Gay Men

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The San Francisco Health Department is changing its recommendations for meningococcal vaccinations, aiming their suggestions at some gay men after a recent meningitis outbreak in New York City.

The local health department is aligning its recommendations with the New York City Health Department. Tomas Aragon, health officer for the City and County of San Francisco said the change affects those with travel plans to the Big Apple.

“Men who have sex with men in New York City, especially if they’re HIV positive,” should get vaccinated against menigicocal disease, according to Aragon.

22 gay men have contracted meningitis in New York City and seven have died since 2010, well before this latest outbreak.

A deadly menigicocal case in Southern California killed a gay man last Saturday. In addition, Southern California health advocates are calling on health officials to investigate two meningitis deaths from December.

“There is no outbreak on the West Coast. There is no outbreak in San Francisco. We’ve had no cases in San Francisco in 2013,” Aragon said.

Meningitis is caused by bacteria most people carry in their mouth, but for reasons unclear, the bacteria can be invasive in some.

The majority of gay men who have contracted meningitis in New York City have been HIV positive.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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