The Meningitis outbreak that has infected seven people in Los Angeles and Orange counties since the beginning of May and resulted in the death of one man in Orange County last month has prompted action on behalf of local organizations and officials.
Earlier this month, LA County health officials and those at The LGBT Center of Long Beach urged individuals, particularly men who have sex with men, to obtain the vaccine.
The Center has followed up and is hosting a free vaccination clinic at its 4th Street headquarters (2017 East 4th St, Long Beach, California 90814) this Saturday, July 23 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM for those looking to follow through.
Meanwhile, State Senator Ricardo Lara is hosting an education and Meningitis awareness event this Friday at Hamburger Mary’s, from 5:00PM to 8:00PM. Half of the proceeds from the event—co-hosted by Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and Hamburger Mary’s—will go toward raising awareness of Meningitis.
“The recent Meningitis outbreak is a public health concern for all residents, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” said Senator Lara in a statement. “I am proud to collaborate with local leaders and organizations to raise awareness and encourage individuals to get vaccinated.”
More than one of the cases of infection has originated in Long Beach, although the exact case count from the area isn’t available, according to The LGBTQ Center’s director of health and wellness, Ismael Salamanca.
“We’re not getting many calls [about vaccines] this year,” said Salamanca, who attributed the lower call volume to a 2014 outbreak and vaccination campaign that led many members of the community to obtain vaccinations. A total of three people died of the illness in 2014. “The vaccinations last up to five years, so that may be why,” said Salamanca.
Meningitis, or Meningococcal disease, is reportedly fatal in one in 10 patients, and often starts with flu-like symptoms, before progressing to high fever, headache, confusion, stiff neck and rash, according to the health department.
Hamburger Mary’s is located at 330 Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA. For more information contact Tonya Martin at (562) 256-7921.