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Should DLers worry?...Deadly NYC meningitis warning now expanded beyond city, vaccine recommendation grows

America Blog...John Aravosis

In a scary update to an already scary story, the New York state Department of Health is warning any man in the state who had sex in the last six months with a man from New York City to immediately get vaccinated against a particularly deadly variant of meningitis. (The warning is, sadly, a bit confusing – read on.)

by Anonymousreply 5004/14/2013

A recent article in in the NYT notes that while typically meningitis kills one in five people it strikes, this strain kills one in three.

Last fall, the recommendation to vaccinate was limited to non-monogamous gay men who lived in NYC and were HIV-positive, or who were HIV-negative and lived in specific areas of Brooklyn.

Then, almost a month ago, a new meningitis warning came out, expanding the pool of who should be vaccinated to any gay man from anywhere in NYC, regardless of HIV status, who is non-monogamous.

And now, it’s been expanded even further to include any man who has visited NYC since September 1, 2012 and had sex with another man while there. There’s also a vague line about gay men who are HIV-positive, but it’s not clear from the way the warning is written whether even HIV-positive men who visited NYC and didn’t have sex while there should get a shot.

First off, take these warnings seriously. I plan on getting my shot this week, even though I live in DC. As a doctor recently told me when I asked him about whether I should get a shot: It’s better than dying. (Note that insurance may not cover it.)

Here’s a bit on the symptoms from NY Department of Health:

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days.

Other things I’ve read have said that people have been found dead before they even had a chance to go to a doctor.

I think I have to say a word about the poor manner in which these warnings are written. I’m a lawyer and it’s taken me fifteen minutes to understand exactly what the new recommendation is actually saying, and honestly, parts of it still don’t make sense, like the part about HIV-positive gay men.

For example, the warning says “all HIV-infected MSM” living in NYC should be vaccinated. MSM is a term of art meaning “men who have sex with men.” It’s a way of covering men who don’t think they’re gay, but still sleep with men. So they’re saying that if you’re HIV+ and you stepped foot in NYC since last September, and even if you didn’t have sex, you should still get a shot? Judging by the fact they talk about non-monogamous HIV-negative men in the next bullet, the clear suggestion is that it doesn’t matter if you’re celibate, if you’re HIV-positive you need the shot. But it’s not clear.

by Anonymousreply 103/30/2013


The language about those who are HIV-negative is just as confusing. Let me first quote it:

MSM, regardless of HIV status, who regularly have close or intimate sexual contact with men met through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party. (Previously, meningococcal vaccination was recommended only for those with contact in certain high risk areas in New York City)

Define “regularly”? I’m quite serious. I have no idea what “regularly” means – a few times a week, a few times a month, or what?

And what is “close” contact? Again, I have no idea what that word even means – is a hug close contact? Is hanging out every day with someone, “close contact”? Is living with them, even if you’re not sleeping with them? Sharing a tooth brush? What about a sneeze? I dunno. And if you have sex, does it matter what kind of sex, or is anything risky with someone who’s infected? Warning doesn’t say.

Then there’s the weird line: “met through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party” that these warnings keep using. That’s awfully specific. I suspect many of the cases must have been contracted from men met either online, or at a bar or party – thus the warning. The problem is that the warning is an “i.e.” rather than an “e.g.” Meaning, the way it’s currently phrased says you should only get a shot if you met someone online, at a bar or a party. If you met them any other way, it’s okay, no shot is needed – or is it? Are closeted guys going to gay parties and gay bars? I doubt it. As for the Internet, probably more likely, but still. They might be going to prostitutes, bathhouses (which aren’t bars or parties), forests, or lots of other locales where you might look for love if you’re not openly gay, or even if you are. Is that what they meant to say – that only if you met someone at one of those specific venues should you get a shot?

And what about the rest of us. Lots of guys in DC visit NYC. In the past six months, what if one of those guys comes back here and sleeps with someone in DC. The rest of us here shouldn’t get shots too? I realize the NY State Department of Health doesn’t have jurisdiction in DC, but their warning does talk about men in the rest of the state of NY:

The recommendation by DOH has been expanded to include MSM residing outside NYC who have traveled to the City and engaged in the risk behaviors described below since September 1, 2012.

What if a guy living in Albany sleeps with someone who had relations with someone in NYC since last September? That’s not a problem? Under the way this is written, it’s not.

Lives are at stake, and it might be nice for public health people to stop writing documents in the lingo of other public health people, and start writing them for human beings. You shouldn’t need a law degree — strike that, a law degree isn’t helping — a public health degree in order to understand whether your life is potentially in danger.

Honestly, at this point, as we’re talking about something that can easily cross state boundaries through the visit of one man to New York City, we ought to be getting more clarification from the CDC and HHS. I’ll be asking the administration for more guidance on this on Monday.

I’m getting the shot regardless.

by Anonymousreply 203/30/2013

I got the vaccine this week.

It was the last one my doctor had.

by Anonymousreply 303/30/2013

You contract meningitis through saliva, including kissing, drinking out of the same cup, or even sharing cigarettes/joints. I haven't had sex for a while but my father wants me to get vaccinated anyway.

by Anonymousreply 403/30/2013

I don't get the logic of the Sept 2012 milestone for being in NYC, if it only takes no more than 10 days to start showing symptoms. I'm celibate by choice and I don't go to bars or clubs, so I'm not at risk. Hopefully this will all blow over and amount to a lot of nothing, just like that scare a few years back about that new strain of rapidly advancing HIV.

by Anonymousreply 503/30/2013

Seems to me that anyone who engages in casual hook ups (not judging) should be careful about getting appropriate vaccinations, just as practicing safe sex is crucial. I have talked frankly with my doctor during visits about my concerns and what things I can do to keep healthy. Pretty circumspect, even conservative in my habits but I don't live as a monk. I have not been in NYC recently, but I will be getting that vaccine.

by Anonymousreply 603/30/2013

Why do these things always explode in the gay community? I don't think gay men are any more promiscuous than straight guys, especially guys in their 20s and 30s. I work with a bunch of straight 20-somethings, and the stories I hear would make even the most open-minded person blush. And I'd think straight men are less likely to use condoms. Their only concern is pregnancy, and the chick usually handles that with birth control pills.

by Anonymousreply 703/30/2013

I don't understand. if symptoms appear in 2 to 10 days, why do people who had sex 6 months ago need a vaccine?

by Anonymousreply 803/30/2013

Thanks a lot, R2!!! I live in DC and as if the dating scene isn't scary enough, now I get to be paranoid about meningitis.

by Anonymousreply 903/30/2013

Meningitis would be preferable to dating in DC.

by Anonymousreply 1003/30/2013

Vaccinations. Right, then.

by Anonymousreply 1103/31/2013

Vacs. are a way to kill all gay men!

by Anonymousreply 1203/31/2013

West Hollywood officials warn gay men, residents of meningitis case.

by Anonymousreply 1304/12/2013

Deadly Meningitis! From the whores who brought you AIDS.

by Anonymousreply 1404/12/2013

[quote]we’re talking about something that can easily cross state boundaries

I won't allow it!

by Anonymousreply 1504/12/2013

I got it in the Romance Section at Barnes and Noble. And then I died, feeling guilty/shameful.

by Anonymousreply 1604/12/2013

In L.A., on the local news tonight ( 4 / 12 / 13 ) they were going apeshit over this whole thing, with the satellite vans all up , and down , SM Blvd. , and the talk getting grim when they mentioned that 1 guy who contracted it, from a NYC' er, at the PS White party, had just died at Cedars. I'm old enough to remember the early 80's , and must admit I did a flashback, when they said 'once contracted, the patients go downhill fast, with organ failure, possible brain damage, and these were all healthy young men, just a week or 2 ago'. Scary !!!

by Anonymousreply 1704/13/2013

Another slut bites the dust.

I wonder how many loads he took at the White Party.

by Anonymousreply 1804/13/2013

At least this has a vaccine. Don't be a fool and get the shot. It can be spread by just kissing. That's some scary shit. You can contract it on Friday and be dead by the following Friday.

by Anonymousreply 1904/13/2013

Unless the vaccine is free, few will get it.

by Anonymousreply 2004/13/2013

Won't the vaccine make me autistic?

by Anonymousreply 2104/13/2013

WTF is up with the slut comments and the judging? If there is a vaccine available then GET it. Then go on with your life.

I don't think this meningitis threat will become a plague, but why take a chance?

And stop the assumptions and judgment you bastards.

by Anonymousreply 2304/13/2013

Gay West Hollywood Man Brain Dead from Bacterial Meningitis; Not Known if Related to Deadly NYC Outbreak

A gay West Hollywood attorney is brain dead from bacterial meningitis, the AP reports:

ShaadBrett Shaad was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon, said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Shaad’s family. She declined to release further details.

West Hollywood Councilman John Duran incorrectly said he had been taken off life support earlier on Friday, the wire adds:

Duran, who saw Shaad last weekend, described the openly gay man as being “robust and healthy” prior to Monday, when he began to feel sick.

On Wednesday, he went into the emergency room. By Thursday, he was in a coma.

Tests are underway on the strain of meningitis to determine if it is related to the deadly strain in NYC, against which health officials have urged sexually active gay men to be vaccinated.

It has not been determined how Shaad contracted meningitis. Shaad's family cricized Duran after he mentioned that Shaad attended the recent White Party in Palm Springs. Shaad also recently visited an Equinox gym in WeHo, the AP adds.

Symptoms typically develop within three to seven days of exposure and can include stiff neck, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental state, often confusion.

According to WABC: "Vaccinations are not being widely recommended in Los Angeles County. But community agencies such as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center are urging individuals to take precautions." Added Duran: “We don’t want to panic people. But we learned 30 years ago the consequences of delay in the response to AIDS. We are sounding the alarm that sexually active gay men need to be aware that we have a strain of meningitis that is deadly on our hands."

Our thoughts go out to Shaad's friends and family.

by Anonymousreply 2404/13/2013

Get informed and take action

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase your risk of bacterial meningitis include:

Community setting

Infectious diseases tend to spread more quickly where larger groups of people gather together. College students living in dormitories and military personnel are at increased risk for meningococcal meningitis.


The germs that cause bacterial meningitis can be contagious. Some bacteria can spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (e.g., kissing). Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. Other meningitis-causing bacteria are not spread person-to-person, but can cause disease because the person has certain risk factors (such as a weak immune system or head trauma). Unlike other bacterial causes of meningitis, you can get Listeria monocytogenes by eating contaminated food.

Sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis spread to other people. This usually happens when there is close or long contact with a sick person in the same household or daycare center, or if they had direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend). People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningococcal or Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis are at higher risk of getting disease and may need antibiotics (see Prevention). Close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by other bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, do not need antibiotics. Tell your doctor if you think you have been exposed to someone with meningitis.

Healthy people can carry the bacteria in their nose or throat without getting sick. Rarely, these bacteria can invade the body and cause disease. Most people who ‘carry’ the bacteria never become sick.

more at link

by Anonymousreply 2504/13/2013

Sucks that he spent all that time, money & effort going through law school only to be struck down by something like this.

by Anonymousreply 2604/13/2013

"It has not been determined how Shaad contracted meningitis. Shaad's family cricized Duran after he mentioned that Shaad attended the recent White Party in Palm Springs."

Why would the family criticize this? I see that the WP occurred about a week or so before he started becoming ill, so more than likely that's where he caught it. btw, here are a bunch of pics from the party. Some really hot guys!

by Anonymousreply 2704/13/2013

Suddenly, Last Autumn

by Anonymousreply 2804/13/2013

No. 95% are massively overweight and live in their mother's basement. They are quite safe.

by Anonymousreply 2904/13/2013

R20. Are gays that poor?

by Anonymousreply 3004/13/2013

I doubt he caught it at that White Party. Everything looks the same. The bacteria should have been easy to identify.

by Anonymousreply 3104/13/2013

Hysteria for the small number of people infected. This isn't AIDS which hides for years and spreads.

by Anonymousreply 3204/13/2013

[quote]Hysteria for the small number of people infected. This isn't AIDS which hides for years and spreads.

Oh, but it's out there and spreading now.

I wouldn't be surprised if this bac meningitis is analogous to the "Delta Virus" of the '70s—the Hepatitis D outbreak everyone feared because of all the promiscuity. Turned out it was the harbinger of something far worse.

Is it going to take a holocaust in every single generation for people to learn?

Sex is an incredibly efficient way to spread disease.

STOP FUCKING CASUALLY. You think you're being "safe," but you're only fighting the last war.

by Anonymousreply 3304/13/2013

The next AIDS could be spread through saliva or casual contact. I have sex on occasion, always safe, but am I supposed to stop kissing because I may pick up something deadly?

by Anonymousreply 3404/13/2013

I don't even know about some of these posts.

Of course, much safer with one monogamous partner, but that isn't a realistic option for many guys.

Get vaccinated. Be careful. Wear a condom. If you do that much you are pretty safe. Now proceed.

by Anonymousreply 3504/13/2013

[quote]much safer with one monogamous partner, but that isn't a realistic option for many guys.

So they said in the '70s.

[quote]If you do that much you are pretty safe. Now proceed.

You're almost making my job too easy! TIA!

by Anonymousreply 3604/13/2013

This is going to be bad for business.

by Anonymousreply 3704/13/2013

I'd wait a little before rushing to vaccinate. I would however move to air kisses for greeting friends.

by Anonymousreply 3804/13/2013

I was thinking of heading to Adonis tonight in order to be ravaged by Vinny. Do I chance it?

by Anonymousreply 3904/13/2013

And if you did have sex with an infected person six months ago, how does the vaccine help you?

by Anonymousreply 4004/13/2013

And I see REICHEN " I want to be taken seriously, and am attending law school" was there ...... In white suspenders / no shirt. Yeah Reich, you're on the right path, leaving all that gay superficiality behind. Hunty , please!

by Anonymousreply 4104/13/2013

I'm sure there will be no outbreaks of this disesase at MichFest unless it is renamed WOMYNingitis.

by Anonymousreply 4204/13/2013

Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD. Meningitis is not an STD.

by Anonymousreply 4304/13/2013

Well it is an STD but it is also a non-STD.

by Anonymousreply 4404/13/2013

It's an STD in the same way Influenza could be an STD.

by Anonymousreply 4504/13/2013

I got vaccinated for meningitis/meningococcal disease before I went to college (about four and half years ago), is this a new strain that I need to get newly vaccinated against? Or will that one suffice?

by Anonymousreply 4604/13/2013

That one apparently puts you at even higher risk for this new strain, R46.

by Anonymousreply 4704/13/2013

Another chink in the vaccine success story.

When are we going to realize that doctors claim to know shit when they don't.

by Anonymousreply 4804/14/2013

Fuck, we're not even allowed to KISS now?

by Anonymousreply 4904/14/2013

thanks for the info.

by Anonymousreply 5004/14/2013
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