Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Deadly case of meningitis ignites fear of bi-coastal outbreak

by Take Two®

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Brett Shaad Photo via Facebook

A 33-year-old lawyer from West Hollywood died Saturday night from a lethal strain of bacterial meningitis. Brett Shaad had been reportedly "robust and healthy" prior to Monday, when he began to feel sick. By Thursday, he was in a coma. The disease has also claimed seven lives in New York City over the past few years.

John Duran is city councilman for West Hollywood and he joins us to discuss this strain of meningitis and what's being done to ward it off.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is offering free meningitis vaccines at the following locations: 

AHF Pharmacy/West Hollywood
8212 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA , 90046
Phone: P: (323) 654-0907 Hours: M-Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun

AHF Pharmacy/Sunset (Hollywood)
6210 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA , 90028
Phone: P: (323) 860-0173       Hours: M-Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun

AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center
1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407, Los Angeles, CA , 90027
Phone: P: (866) 339-2525 Hours: Mon-Wed-Thu-Fri, 5:30pm to 9:00pm – Saturday, 9:30am – 5:00pm


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bacterial meningitis is not spread by casual contact, however kissing could cause transmission. Symptoms typically develop within 3-7 days after exposure, and include the sudden onset of:

  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Headache

Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and altered mental status may also be present. Visit the CDC's page on "Bacterial Meningitis" for more on:

  • Risk Factors
  • Transmission
  • Signs & Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

Bacterial meningitis can be treated effectively with antibiotics. It is important that treatment be started as soon as possible. 

Appropriate antibiotic treatment of the most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk of dying from meningitis to below 15%, although the risk remains higher among young infants and the elderly.

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