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Gay West Hollywood Man Brain Dead from Bacterial Meningitis; Not Known if Related to Deadly NYC Outbreak

A gay West Hollywood attorney is brain dead from bacterial meningitis, the AP reports:

ShaadBrett Shaad was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon, said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Shaad’s family. She declined to release further details.

West Hollywood Councilman John Duran incorrectly said he had been taken off life support earlier on Friday, the wire adds:

Duran, who saw Shaad last weekend, described the openly gay man as being “robust and healthy” prior to Monday, when he began to feel sick.

On Wednesday, he went into the emergency room. By Thursday, he was in a coma.

Tests are underway on the strain of meningitis to determine if it is related to the deadly strain in NYC, against which health officials have urged sexually active gay men to be vaccinated.

It has not been determined how Shaad contracted meningitis. Shaad's family cricized Duran after he mentioned that Shaad attended the recent White Party in Palm Springs. Shaad also recently visited an Equinox gym in WeHo, the AP adds.

Symptoms typically develop within three to seven days of exposure and can include stiff neck, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental state, often confusion.

More info on meningitis and how it is spread here at the CDC.

According to WABC: "Vaccinations are not being widely recommended in Los Angeles County. But community agencies such as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center are urging individuals to take precautions."

Added Duran: “We don’t want to panic people. But we learned 30 years ago the consequences of delay in the response to AIDS. We are sounding the alarm that sexually active gay men need to be aware that we have a strain of meningitis that is deadly on our hands."

Our thoughts go out to Shaad's friends and family.

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  1. Diseases come from East Asia. It's beeen a recurring pattern. The west coast is especially vunerable to the spread of diseases because there are many East Asians on the west coast.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Apr 13, 2013 11:12:04 PM

  2. @ Billy: Believe it or not, the bacterium that causes meningitis won't necessarily cause it in everyone who is exposed. Indeed, it's actually part of the oral/nasal normal flora (i.e., the complement of bacteria that permanently live on/in the body without causing disease) of about 10% of the population.

    Also, Rick and Will need to crawl back under their bridges.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Apr 14, 2013 12:33:28 AM

  3. Aren't vaccines required now for everyone who's born? I just checked my immunization record and I got three doses for meningitis within a year (1991-1992).

    Posted by: Anthony | Apr 14, 2013 1:45:26 AM

  4. The homophobes at the New York Times are now trying to link meningitis to being gay. Didn't the same newspaper also demonize us with the AIDS brush?

    Message to the New York Times: f@#* off.

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 14, 2013 3:02:13 AM

  5. @ Will

    I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, speaking frankly and honestly about the promiscuous culture within our community and the often grave social ills that it helps exacerbate is met with denials, derision, and accusations of homophobia. This as new HIV infections is highest in our community and continues to rise.

    Posted by: James | Apr 14, 2013 5:17:59 AM

  6. lessthan - thank you for stating something that ought to be obvious and free of political crap. Jeez. Get a grip people. This could have happened ANYWHERE in any large crowd of people.

    Posted by: Nelson | Apr 14, 2013 8:10:50 AM

  7. It should treated as serious public health hazard, period. Leave the PC politics at the door. It's a serious public health hazard, like TB. Or STDs for that matter. Stop politicizing everything, because this often ends up making the problem worse. Some commonsense things should have been taken early on when AIDS came on the scene, such as closing bath houses and so-on. It was and is a public health issue first and foremost. If you research how syphilis was dealt with by public health officials back in the early 20th century, they didn't beat around the bush. It was widely acknowledged, warning signs were everywhere. People who caught other contagious diseases were often isolated [for both their own and the general public's good]. These methods helped prevent far more people from getting ill and dying.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 14, 2013 9:27:20 AM

  8. “We don’t want to panic people. But we learned 30 years ago the consequences of delay in the response to AIDS. We are sounding the alarm that sexually active gay men need to be aware that we have a strain of meningitis that is deadly on our hands."

    Why are public health authorities specifically targeting sexually active gay men if there is nothing about that group's behavior that makes the spread of this disease among them much more likely than it is among other groups?

    Quibble about the definition of an STD all you want--that is not really the point--and you all know it.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 14, 2013 10:04:20 AM

  9. A brain dead guy in West Hollywood? Coals to Newcastle.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 14, 2013 1:02:48 PM

  10. First off, my condolences to the family of Mr. Shaad.

    Second off, bacterial meningitis has become resistant to most antibiotics. My guess is probably contraction from the gym, where bacteria can be rampant.

    My mother, recently deceased, was in a hospice center in AZ before her death, and the administration was terrified because two elderly patients had contracted meningitis and the staff was in a panic because the strain was unresponsive to traditional antibiotic treatment.

    This is not a "gay" thing, just as HIV/AIDs is not a "gay" thing. This is a human thing and a result of indiscriminate use of antibiotics which has caused super strains, not just of bacterial meningitis but of tuberculosis, gonorrhea and syphilis.

    This is serious stuff. We've created some bacterial monsters and we don't know how to combat them.

    Sad and horrible way for such a fine young man to die.

    But the media needs to get off this "gay" thing as if it is only a danger to gay men. It is a danger to EVERYBODY.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Apr 14, 2013 3:31:35 PM

  11. White Party, or any kind of careless drug-sex fest is a call for STDs. Sad this happened but avoid those places.

    Posted by: Bosie | Apr 15, 2013 4:35:15 AM

  12. Cornering the market as just a gay thing is stupid and deadly! Viral meningitis can happen to anyone, especially people living in close quarters like college students. Unfortunately, the outbreak in NYC just shows that the carrier was very "mobile".

    Posted by: Deidrefl72 | Apr 15, 2013 6:01:01 AM

  13. I am seriously going to blow a gasket if I read one more idiotic comment about this being a problem of promiscuity or being gay. THIS IS NOT AN STD. Maybe this example will help make it clear: If two gay virgins make out a little on a date and one has meningitis, the other guy is probably more likely to get it from that little bit of kissing than if he was pounded doggy style by 8 guys in a row while wearing a surgical mask.

    Rich F., Adam, jamal49, Deidrefl72, etc.: thanks for having brains and trying to correct the misconceptions.

    Posted by: Thomas | Apr 15, 2013 11:19:26 AM

  14. Jeffrey Sanker was a jackass in 1976 and he still is.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 15, 2013 11:50:16 AM

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