Meningitis death may be linked to White Party
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
WEST HOLLYWOOD- Public health officials and the city of West Hollywood are warning gay men and other people to be aware of a rare strain of meningitis.
The warning comes after a 31 year old gay man, who was diagnosed just last week, went brain dead and died today.
Physicians and politicians are pointing to the White Party here in the desert as a possible source of the man's infection.
The annual party draws 8-10,000 gay men from around the world to the desert every year and experts say prolonged close contact like kissing and sex spreads the bacterial meningitis infection. It is spread through saliva.
Officials don't know yet if this meningitis strain is related to the strain in New York City where they're reporting 22 cases and seven deaths.
"We cant yet connect the two but we possibly have one here and this person was in fact in attendance at the White Party, so it raises the issue. So we want to get the word out to any gay men that were at the white party that if they have any of these symptoms, go see their physician immediately,” says West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran.
KMIR reached out to the founder of the White Party Jeffrey Sanker who sent us this statement via email:
“My heart goes out to the parents and siblings as we have always regarded all our party participants as extended family. From what we all know to date, the origin of the outbreak is inconclusive; nonetheless like many large gatherings , gay or straight, people are often in close intimate contact with each other. However, we have always been very proactive in distributing literature for the health and safety of our patrons, including condom distribution.”Jeffrey Sanker WPPS PRODUCER / FOUNDER
Hospitals in the desert say they haven”t seen an uptick in meningitis infections as of yet.
Most will see symptoms within four days. If you come in contact with the virus, there are preventative antibiotics available, but the best way to avoid the infection is to get vaccinated.