Health officials are investigating to see if there's a link to an outbreak of bacterial meningitis among gay men in New York City where 22 people have gotten sick and 7 have died since 2010.
"We will be doing a fingerprinting exercise on that bacteria to see if it looks like it's similar to ones in other places," says Dr. Jonathan Fielding. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles is offering 10,000 free meningitis vaccinations to anyone who thinks they're at risk. Some waited two hours at the pharmacy to get a shot.
Bacterial meningitis can spread through close contact, including kissing, sharing food and sex. Symptoms usually develop within 3 to 7 days of exposure and include high fever, stiff neck, head aches, muscle aches and confusion. Health officials are also reaching out to gay groups to raise awareness.