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City Announces Vaccination Recommendations for Invasive Meningococcal Disease

Post Date:June 27, 2016 7:04 PM

LA County Public Health logoThe City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (L.A. County Public Health) has issued recommendations for vaccinating against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD).

On Friday, June 24, 2016, a Health Alert was issued by L.A. County Public Health through the Los Angeles County Health Alert Network; recommendations are directed at men who have sex with men (MSM) following a rise in IMD cases. L.A. County Public Health has confirmed nine cases of IMD this year in L.A. County (excluding Pasadena and Long Beach, which have separate health departments) and four (45 percent) have been among gay men/men who have sex with men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a common outcome of meningococcal infection is meningitis, which can be very serious or even fatal. The symptoms of meningococcal meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically symptoms develop within three to seven days after exposure and include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. There can also be more serious symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion, as well. Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or influenza. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact.

The City of West Hollywood recommends that men who have sex with men take action on the L.A. County Public Health recommendations by visiting a primary-care or other health provider to get a vaccination against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. Although meningococcal disease can be treated with appropriate antibiotics if detected early, prevention is the best medicine.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center will offer a State-funded no-cost meningococcal vaccine for high-risk community members beginning July 5, 2016 at its McDonald/Wright Building, located at 1625 N. Schrader Boulevard, Los Angeles.  Until the State-funded vaccines are available, HIV-positive patients at the Center receive the vaccine through their provider, and high risk HIV-negative patients may receive the vaccine for approximately $120 per dose, for a two dose series. For more information, please call (323) 860-5855 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org.

In West Hollywood, the MinuteClinic at CVS/pharmacy, located at 8491 Santa Monica Boulevard, offers meningococcal vaccine for a fee, though the MinuteClinic will accept health insurance coverage. For more information, please call (866) 389-2727 or visit http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinic-locator/clinicdetails.jsp?storeId=9652

The Men’s Health Foundation and the Southern California Men’s Medical Group will offer the meningococcal vaccine to patients with or without insurance.  They are located at 9201 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 812, Los Angeles.  For more information, please call (310) 550-1010 or email tmills@tonymillsmd.com

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also offers free meningococcal vaccine to L.A. County residents without health insurance. For a listing of clinics, please call the L.A. County Information Line at 2-1-1 from any cell phone or landline in Los Angeles County or visit  http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/Docs/meningitisclinics.pdf.

For more information about recommendations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the agency’s background of reports about meningitis, please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/DiseaseSpecific/dontswap.htm

For additional details and communications from the Los Angeles County Health Alert Network, please visit  http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/lahan

For clinical information regarding invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), please visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s effort to encourage recommendations for vaccinating against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), please contact Derek Murray, Social Services Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6478. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.