By Jonathan Springston, Associate Managing Editor, AHC Media

The County of Los Angeles Public Health Department reports that as of Aug. 5, there have been 15 reported cases of meningitis in Los Angeles County in 2016, eight of those among men who have sex with men (MSM). In response, public health officials have called on meningitis vaccinations for all MSM, those who are HIV positive, and those who are at risk for contracting HIV.

In 2015, Los Angeles County reported 12 cases for meningitis, only one of those in a MSM patient, for the entire year. By contrast, the county said four MSM patients were stricken with meningitis in June 2016 alone. Public health officials are working with the CDC and other experts to determine the cause of the outbreak and why this particular wave has disproportionately affected the county’s LGBT community.

Meanwhile, the department of public health, along with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, is providing meningitis vaccines to patients for free regardless of insurance status.

For much more about many types of infectious diseases, including meningitis, and how to prevent and treat them, be sure to check out Infectious Disease Alert and Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.