Meningitis Death Prompts Action
Dallas Morning News; 22A
Health officials in Dallas County, Texas, vaccinated about 1,500 homeless people against meningococcal meningitis, after a man who had been staying at one of the city's homeless shelters died from the disease last week. The source of the man's infection may have been another shelter resident, who was later hospitalized; the deceased man and others at the shelter were given antibiotics, but the drugs only protect against meningitis for a couple of weeks, according to county officials. Compared to 2001, when 37 cases of meningitis were recorded in Dallas County, there have only been 19 cases this year, although two of those 19 people died and four patients were homeless. Dr. Assefa Tulu, the county epidemiologist, said that the close living quarters in homeless shelters make them prime for transmission of meningitis, and he stated, "We consider this a very high public health priority."