The California Department of Public Health is usually second to New York’s annual advisory; but, hopefully things are tame in the Big Apple.
This recent press release from California is shocking:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports that the number of Invasive Meningococcal Disease cases has recently increased. The newest case is confirmed in a young adult, gay man who works in LA County. He is currently hospitalized and receiving appropriate medical treatment. This brings the total number of cases in LA County in 2016 to 11, of which seven have occurred within the last two months.
Of particular concern, this is the fourth recent case within LA County’s Public Health jurisdiction to occur among self-identified gay men/men who have sex with men (MSM). To date, the reason for the high proportion of cases in this population is unknown, but the majority are among HIV negative men. Two female cases of Invasive Meningococcal Disease have also been confirmed within the same time frame. No deaths have occurred in LA County due to these infections.
“The number of infections among men, most of whom identify as gay or bisexual, is substantially more than would be expected,” said LA County Interim Health Officer, Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH. “This is of great concern, and we want to ensure that individuals who are at risk get vaccinated and take other precautions to stop the spread of this deadly disease.”
Public Health has asked the State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in the local investigation. This is especially important because there have been Invasive Meningococcal Disease outbreaks among MSM in other jurisdictions across the country.
Including cases from Long Beach and Orange County, this most recent case from LA County brings the total to seven MSM cases in Southern California since the beginning of May. In LA County, there are an estimated 300,000 MSM in a population of more than 10 million people.
Here’s a news story from the 2013 Los Angeles outbreak which includes tips to identify symptoms. Press play.