3 meningitis deaths reported in Los Angeles County

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vaccine

Free meningitis vaccinations are being offered in LA County.

Los Angeles County health officials say three of eight people who contracted bacterial meningitis this year have died — and all three had sex with other men.

Health officials this week urged gay men to be vaccinated against the invasive meningococcal disease, which can spread through close contact such as kissing or sharing drinks.

However, authorities say the men didn't have direct contact with each other and there's no actual outbreak in the gay community.

The department has confirmed the deaths in February and March of three men ages 27 or 28 — including two who were HIV positive. Of the other five people who fell ill, four are out of the hospital and one is hospitalized but recovering.

Free vaccinations are being offered to those without health insurance.