Over the past few months there has been several reports from health professionals warning gay men to be mindful of the spread of the potentially deadly meningitis bacterial virus. Unfortunately the strain has spread and irreparably affected the life of a openly gay man by the name of Brett Shaad in West Hollywood who is now brain dead. Here’s more:
LOS ANGELES — A 33-year-old West Hollywood man who felt sickened by bacterial meningitis earlier this week has been declared brain dead amid warnings to sexually active gay men about the deadly strain of illness, officials said.
Brett 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.
[John] 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.
Earlier Friday, officials warned sexually active gay men to beware of the potentially deadly health threat because Shaad’s case was detected in Los Angeles County.
Tests were being done to see if the strain of illness is similar to the meningococcal infections that circulated among gay men in New York City and infected 22 people, resulting in seven fatalities, since 2010.
The illness could be spread by sex and kissing but not by casual contact.
We need to be as educated as we possibly can about this outbreak that appears to be affecting gay men. What makes this all the more scary is that the symptoms resemble that of a common flu. It’s why it is vital for all of us to know about vaccination and prevention. Prevention goes a long way in stopping the spread of this virus and we all need to take it upon ourselves to be safe and protect those that we interact with sexually.
What the Center for Disease Control (CDC) urges us all to do in case we suspect we have symptoms or possibly been with someone that has the bacterial strains to get tested immediately and be sure to tell your doctor or health professional why you believe you suspect it may be meningitis by listing your symptoms. Also be sure to be up to date on any and all booster shots for the vaccine.
All the information I’m providing is a paraphrasing of what we should all be doing just to be safe. This is in no way to incite panic from this story but we all have to be informed of what’s going on now so that we don’t see a snowball effect. So please let those around you know to be aware of the precautions they need to take and what symptoms to look out for in order to protect all of us.