Q Syndicate ℞ Aug 11, 2016
Instead of yet another cartoon about the latest appalling utterance from the mercurial mogul Donald Berzilius Trump, Bergetoons this week brings you a public service message.
There has been an as yet unexplained spike in meningitis cases affecting gay and bisexual men, particularly in major urban centers such as New York, Chicago and Southern California.
Meningitis cases in L.A. and Orange counties are thought to be connected because lab testing showed that many patients were infected with the same strain of meningococcus, known as serotype C.A rare but potentially fatal disease, meningitis is often spread by saliva, (e.g., by kissing or sharing drinks) because the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria tends to colonize in the throat and mouth. The disease causes inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes. Symptoms include fever, stiffness of the neck, nausea, vomiting and confusion.
Federal, state and local public health officials are working together to investigate the current outbreak, which is estimated to have begun in February, with most cases in the past two months. A man in Orange County died after being infected this year, alarming many in the region’s gay community.
Health officials worry that a strain may have developed that could be sexually transmitted (I don't think a Ph.D in MSM is required to imagine the possibilities), and fear a pandemic similar to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 1980's. Fortunately, unlike with HIV/AIDS, there are vaccines to protect against meningitis, and the disease is treatable when caught in time.