Two More Southern California Gay Men Die from Bacterial Meningitis

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Map of Southern California showing counties with bacterial meningitis outbreak

Two more Southern California gay men have died from bacterial meningitis. The deaths follow the death a West Hollywood man who died last week.

Brett Shaad, 33, a West Hollywood attorney died Saturday night. Officials in West Hollywood quickly alerted the gay community to highly contagious and sometimes deadly infection.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced the of Rjay Spoon, 30, of downtown Los Angeles died on Dec. 16; and an unidentified 30-year-old San Diego State University student who lived in Chula Vista died on Dec. 10.

Adding to the fear of a potential outbreak is the fact that Shaad attended the White Party in Palm Springs, a dance party attracting thousands of gay men March 29 to April 1, the foundation said.

Casey Hayden, who was Rjay Spoon’s partner, said he woke up one night to find Spoon vomiting. Spoon’s symptoms puzzled doctors until it was too late, he said.

Hayden told reporters Tuesday:

“We went to the hospital and the first thing they said it was was a drug overdose. Then they said it was extremely advanced HIV, which was not the case. He was negative.”

The recent bacterial meningitis deaths in Southern California follow the deaths of at least seven New York City gay men who died from bacterial meningitis.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is offering free meningitis vaccines on Tuesday.

Bacterial meningitis is a preventable disease. There is no reason to die from this disease. The vaccine carries no live bacteria.

This entry was posted in Bacterial Meningitis, Gay Men, News, Public Health, Southern California and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Two More Southern California Gay Men Die from Bacterial Meningitis

  1. JDRShaw says:

    When I was in college and living in a dorm, I remember a couple of students getting this. Back then there was no vaccine. We’re so fortunate that today there is a vaccine. Thanks for posting this and keeping people informed.

  2. panasit says:

    Bacterial meningitis is primarily spread through droplets. A sneeze or cough is all it takes. I was not aware the disease could also be spread through sexual contact but this makes sense. What alarms me is the sudden onset of fatality once infected? In many parts of the world where people live in close proximity and have poor hygiene, people get bacterial meningitis and survive. There is another factor in gay men that seems to make them more vulnerable.

  3. ChiTOM says:

    Get vaccinated! Talk to your doctor and get vaccinated.

  4. feminazi says:

    The virulence of bacterial meningitis is terrifying. People can be carriers and not even know they are infected. Like panasit said, a sneeze or a cough can spread it. I wonder if elderly people are also at risk? After all, our immune systems aren’t as strong as when we’re 20 or 30 years old.

  5. The Real Adam says:

    I can’t add much but this is scary. If you’re sexually active — gay, straight or bi, please be careful.

    As for a bacterial meningitis vaccine, I didn’t know there is such a thing. I will consult with my doctor and decide if it’s something appropriate for me.

  6. DMason says:

    Very good information, Christopher. Thanks for posting.

  7. Gary Snot,

    Now you’ve been banned on my blog too. How does it feel to lose twice?

  8. Joe in Colorado says:

    This reminds me of TB and how easily it can be spread. People living in close proximity and then coughing. A lethal mix. Makes me want to avoid crowds. No more sports events or concerts. I am so asking my doctor about a vaccine.

  9. Brigadoon says:

    I know a guy who attended the White Party in Palm Springs. It is referred to as a “dance party” but we all know it’s really adventures with Caligula. When you traipse through that environment, you’re going to be exposed to all sorts of things. I am not saying Brett Shaad deserved to contract this awful disease but I am saying, you’re putting yourself at increased risk for exposure.

  10. DB says:

    Good information.

    When we play with fire we can sure get burned. Better to play it safe and wait for a commited relationships rather than rolling the dice with our lives. If people would think before they act, this kind of stuff could pretty much be eliminated. This is terrible but can still serve as a strong deterrent to folks letting their passions lead them rather than common sense.

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