SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --In the past week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has reported three new cases, including one fatality, of meningococcal disease.
The CDPH said that this disease has been occurring over the past several months in Southern California - specifically in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
This disease is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, which are transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, during face-to-face or prolonged contact or by sharing utensils, drinks or cigarettes.
The OCHCA also stated that it is a serious infection that can cause the brain infection meningitis and/or the blood infection bacteremia. Both can lead to death.
Initial symptoms include fever, body aches, stiff neck, and headache. If anyone experiences any of these symptoms along with a small, flat, non-itchy rash, they are advised to seek medical attention immediately.
The local increase in risk has prompted the OCHCA, Los Angeles County of Public Health and City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services to expand vaccination recommendations to include all gay, bisexual, men who have sex with men, and persons with HIV.
The OCHCA can provide vaccinations at low or no cost for those who are uninsured or don't have insurance coverage for the vaccination cost.
Two clinics located at 1725 W. 17th Street in Santa Ana will offer vaccines for those qualifying.
The Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., closed for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. The Testing, Treatment and Care Clinic is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There may be long wait times as both of these locations are walk-in clinics. People who just need vaccination should visit the Immunization Clinic, but those who need testing for sexually-transmitted diseases should visit the Testing, Treatment and Care Clinic.
For more information, please call the Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, and to learn more about Meningococcal Disease, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal