West Hollywood resident Brett Shaad was declared brain dead yesterday afternoon after suffering a fast-moving bacterial meningitis infection, prompting fears that the outbreak currently hitting New York City’s gay men has spread to the west coast. Karen Ocamb reports at Frontiers:
The 33 year old West Hollywood resident was a lawyer, a real estate broker and very popular among his friends, many of whom surrounded his bed at Cedar Sinai Hospital in shock and disbelief. “Last weekend I was with him at a local restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran at a news conference about the meningitis scare. “He was tall and muscular, robust, looking as fit as a fiddle and we notified on Wednesday he was at Cedars and then yesterday, he was in a coma. And now he’s going to be removed from life support.”
The city of West Hollywood has issued an “urgent warning.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been alerted about a Los Angeles County case of meningococcal infection. Tests are being conducted to determine the imprint of this strain, which is not a new one. There may be similarities to an especially deadly strain of meningococcal infection found recently in New York that has resulted in twenty-two cases, including ten fatalities since 2010. The outbreak in New York City involved a strain circulating among men who have sex with men and may be transmitted during intimate encounters including sex.
Saying that the Los Angeles Department of Health is “dragging its feet,” yesterday West Hollywood Councilman John Duran said that on Monday he will introduce a measure to provide a $20,000 fund for vaccines for the uninsured.
RELATED: Earlier this month the New York State Department of Health issued a statewide call for all gay men to be vaccinated against meningitis.