8 meningitis diagnoses in Los Angeles County

People receive a free meningitis vaccine from  Dr. Wayne Chen at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation pharmacy on April 15, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Health officials say eight people in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis so far in 2014.
People receive a free meningitis vaccine from Dr. Wayne Chen at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation pharmacy on April 15, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Health officials say eight people in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis so far in 2014. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Health officials say eight people in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis so far this year.

The Department of Public Health will offer free vaccinations to people without health insurance beginning Thursday.

RELATED: FAQ: What you need to know about bacterial meningitis in LA County (map)

Officials say of the eight cases, four involved men who have sex with other men, including three who were HIV-positive.

As a result, the county is urging vaccinations for some gay men, especially those with multiple partners or who share cigarettes or drug paraphernalia.

Three of the patients are known to socialize in the West Hollywood or North Hollywood areas.

Meningococcal disease can be spread through kissing and coughing or sharing beverages or cigarettes.

The infection can cause brain damage, hearing loss or potentially death.

blog comments powered by Disqus