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Man stricken with meningitis dies

"We don't want to panic people," West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran said at a news conference Friday about the meningitis that took the life of lawyer Brett Shaad.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A 33-year-old West Hollywood man afflicted with meningitis has died, a Los Angeles County coroner’s official confirmed Saturday.

Brett Shaad was pronounced dead at about 3:40 p.m. Friday, said Dana Been, a coroner’s investigator.

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The case, along with several instances of meningitis striking gay men in New York City, caused West Hollywood officials to warn residents to take precautions.

“We don’t want to panic people,” City Councilman John Duran, who serves a community with a heavy gay and lesbian population, said at a news conference Friday.

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Duran said he had seen Shaad, an attorney, about a week ago and that he appeared to be extremely fit.

Bee said that an autopsy has yet to be done on Shaad, but said he had meningitis.

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Bacterial meningitis is a disease that can be treated with antibiotics if identified quickly. Symptoms include sudden fever, severe headache and sensitivity to light.

People who are in very close contact with someone who has meningitis are at higher risk of contracting the disease because it can be spread by kissing or coughing, though it is not as contagious as the common cold.

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There is a vaccine, but it is generally recommended only for certain populations, including adolescents.

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Twitter: @LATimesHekutor

hector.becerra@latimes.com


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