The LA County Department of Public Health shared its concern about a spread of meningitis among gay men. This weekend marks the 47th annual celebration of the LA Pride Festival, and health officials noted it is important for people to take measures against the illness. The health department said that 29 cases of meningitis had been reported in the Los Angeles area since last year, and ten of those cases involve gay men.

Meningitis is a rare disease that consists in the swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be transmitted in several ways, so it’s vital to known what caused the disease to a patient to provide the correct treatment.

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Meningitis has spread among gay men in LA: Health officials seek to raise awareness

Health officials hope that more gay people will learn about the disease during LA Pride this weekend. One of the attendants, Darren Bitonio, said he recently got vaccinated for the disease.

“I am a guy. Just for extra protection,” he told KCAL 9’s Jeff Nguyen, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The Department of Public Health believes that only about a third of the community has been vaccinated, and they are urging people to get immunized against meningitis. There are several types of meningitis, and some of the severe types can result in a person developing brain damage or even dying.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are six types of the disease: bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis, fungal meningitis, parasitic meningitis, amebic meningitis and non-infectious meningitis. The CDC says that injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other kinds of infections can also cause meningitis.

One of the most common ways in which meningitis is transmitted is through saliva. Image credit: BBC
One of the most common ways in which meningitis is transmitted is through saliva. Image credit: BBC

Bacterial meningitis is severe and can be deadly. In fact, death can occur in as little as few hours, the CDC says. Most people recover from the disease, but permanent can result from the infection such as hearing loss, learning disabilities and brain damage. Bacterial meningitis caused around 4,100 cases and 500 deaths in the United States each year between 2003 and 2007.

The CDC notes that most people infected with the viruses will not develop the disease. However, it is important to get vaccinated against meningitis.

LA Pride Festival will close with a ‘Resist March’ against Trump Administration’s policies

Hundreds of people are expected to go to West Hollywood on Saturday for the 47th annual LA Pride Festival, which will feature carnival rides, games, exhibits, food and musical acts throughout the weekend.

However, the Pride Festival will be different this year, as the decorated floats of the past for Sunday’s parade will mostly be absent, replaced instead by a “Resist March,” according to My News LA. Although avoiding a direct reference to President Donald Trump, the “Resist March” is expected to send a message of opposition to the Trump Administration policies that have an adverse impact on the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities.

Most of the events will take place in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, but as a sign of respect, officials at the Los Angeles International Airport announced that the massive pylons along Century Boulevard leading the entrance to the airport will be lighted this weekend in rainbow colors.

At Saturday’s event, Chromeo and Aaron Carter will perform in the musical entertainment portion of the festival, while Brandy will headline on Sunday’s event.

The LA Pride Festival is considered to be one of the nation’s largest celebrations of the LGBTQ community. Several events were held over the past week leading up to the main event, which officially began on Friday night with the annual Dyke March through the Santa Monica Boulevard.

This year’s festival had to be reduced in size due to construction in West Hollywood, but organizers believe the attendance will be as same as previous years.

Pride Festival also looks to raise awareness on HIV

On Sunday, the annual Pride Parade will be replaced by what has been called the #ResistMarch beginning in Hollywood. The march is expected to attract over 100,000 people and is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The attendants also hope to send a message to Trump with the March.

“I think we have to change the congress and then we have to change the White House,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Keuhl, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Activism is also the goal of the march, and a van will be in charge of spreading awareness of protecting yourself against HIV. However, Bitonio said the LGBTQ community shouldn’t stop there.

“That’s the main topic, it’s HIV, but [people] never bring up meningitis,” said Bitonio, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Source: CBS Los Angeles