West Hollywood man dead after contracting meningococcal disease


Brett Shaad was pronounced dead Saturday, the L.A. County Coroner's office confirmed. The victim was admitted to the emergency room Wednesday and was reportedly in a coma by Thursday.

West Hollywood officials warned residents to take precautions during a news conference Friday after the 33-year-old attorney's case was detected in Los Angeles County. Health officials are looking into the possibility that the meningitis strain is the same one that has reportedly claimed the lives of seven men in New York City.

"There's only one case here in Los Angeles, but I think we're concerned and we're working very closely with public health and the city of West Hollywood to make sure we don't have an outbreak like has been experienced in New York City," said Chris Brown of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.

Health officials say bacterial meningitis can be spread by sexual activity and kissing, but not by casual contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and confusion.

Meningococcal disease is fatal in about 10 percent of cases, but is preventable with a vaccination.

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