Experts Stumped Why Meningitis Outbreaks Disproportionately Affect Gay Men
California's outbreak is just the latest that has struck gay and bisexual men at high rates.
Los Angeles Times:
Meningitis Outbreaks Among Gay Men Have Experts Puzzled
As cases of meningitis, a rare and potentially fatal disease, popped up in cities nationwide over the past several years, public health officials noticed a trend: many of those infected were gay men. There’s no known medical reason why meningitis, which is transmitted through saliva, would spread more among gay and bisexual men. Yet New York, Chicago and now Southern California have experienced outbreaks disproportionately affecting that population. “It is perplexing,” said Dr. Rachel Civen, a medical epidemiologist at L.A. County’s Department of Public Health. (Karlamangla, 7/30)
In other public health news —
Orange County Register:
Hidden Stroke Victims: Hospitalizations Are Rising Quickly Among Younger Adults
[Mike] Lehmkuhl, gaunt and gray with a scraggly beard, grabbed one of the large tree branches that windstorms had scattered about the property, Kelly later told police. The security guard reached for his belt, where he carried a Taser on one side and a firearm on the other. Lehmkuhl charged, [Adam]Kelly said, so he grabbed for his Taser but tumbled backward. As Lehmkuhl swung, Kelly pulled out his gun. Seconds later, the guard was on the ground with a broken arm, and Lehmkuhl lay dying with bullet holes in his chest, left shoulder and back. (Hubert, 7/31)
The Air Is Brown — Should I Wear A Mask?
With California facing a year-round fire season, questions about air quality have darkened some decisions about going outside. Particulate matter matters, and so does airborne debris, but how bad is bad? Are we at mask-level bad? Do you need to wear one? We asked air quality specialists, health officials, agencies, medical professionals and mask companies. Here's the short, conditional, answer: No agency endorses the practice of public mask-wearing, but if it makes you feel better to wear one, you could grab a single-use N95 respirator from the hardware store in a pinch. You might not need it, or like wearing it, or be putting it on correctly, but you could try if you absolutely have to be outside. Which you absolutely shouldn’t be. (Katz and Galentine, 7/30)
Rate Of Flu Shots Among African-Americans Are Lowest; Vietnamese Are Highest
About 1 in 3 adult Californians get the flu shot each year, but the rates of immunization vary by race and ethnicity, and a new study by UCLA researchers shows the rate is lowest among African-Americans. ... The study adjusted for economic and insurance access factors to identify if there were other reasons keeping people away from the flu shot, says lead researcher Dr. Christopher Almorio. (Agullera, 7/29)