Local News

AIDS Group Says 2 Men Died of Meningitis in December

WEST HOLLYWOOD (KTLA) — Two more people have died from meningitis, but apparently, the deaths — which occurred in December — weren’t widely reported.

The new revelation comes after the death of West Hollywood attorney Brett Schadd, who died from meningitis over the weekend.

Last December’s victims were 30-year-old Rjay Spoon, from downtown L.A., and a 30-year-old San Diego State University student who lived in Chula Vista.

“His sickness started very suddenly,” said Spoon’s partner, Casey Hayden, at a news conference on Tuesday.

“Friday, he called me and said he was throwing up. Saturday, unresponsive. Sunday he passed away,” Hayden recounted.

Hayden stood alongside Michael Weinstein of Aids Healthcare Foundation and West Hollywood City Council member John Duran.

Duran says the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health failed to tell him about the two deaths in December.

Duran says the county should have been up front with him after Shaad’s recent death.

“It’s really hard for me to alert a community that’s 40% gay that we have a problem in our midst if I can’t get straight answers from the county Department of Health,” Duran said.

According to health experts, if meningitis is caught early, it can be cured. It can also be prevented with a vaccine.

The AHF is offering free vaccines at its two pharmacy locations — one in West Hollywood and the other in Hollywood.

Weinstein says the Department of Public Health has been unresponsive, and he claims they are not doing their job.

“How many people have to die and get sick before we mount the right kind of effort?” he asked.

“It doesn’t seem that we can rouse or get the energy or sympathy we need from the people who our taxes pay to provide this service.”

–Liberte Chan, KTLA News

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