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Monday, April 29, 2013

Review of the FMLA Kickoff Event, April 27, 2013


Sweet, supportive, well-socialized gay FetishMen from every part of Southern California came together at the Antebellum Gallery near Sunset & Vine to support our brothers in the newly-formed FetishMenLosAngeles (FMLA).





The gallery was displaying "The Art of Drummer Magazine", which delighted all concerned, because Rick Castro (the gallery's owner) is one of the few remaining folks who were part of Drummer magazine's team. Many, many of the men present have fond, sticky memories of Drummer magazine.  I also strongly recommend checking out jackfritscher.com (and Jack's Facebook page) for more of our shared history.

Rick's work on display.

Rick gave a very well-received talk about his photography work, and showed examples. All attendees felt like they are part of an ongoing flow of shared history.


Men of every age (from 18 to 68), color, body-style and experience-level mingled freely between the display gallery, the back office-area and the outer patio, where cigars were enjoyed.



Hugs were exchanged in every area, and often.


They knew exactly how to behave, based upon this article, and every man arrived ready to PARTICIPATE.
Jeremy shows up twice!

Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2013 Jeremy gave his talk to welcome us all (he's the guy who will be handling the publicity and networking), and the representatives from our brother clubs in San Diego and Palm Springs gave our brief talks as well.



What makes FMLA different?

In any major city, many existing affinity-groups fulfill the needs of a few lucky members. However, this leaves a lot of great guys with social, mentoring, leadership and volunteering opportunities unfilled.

New-style groups such as FMLA, DFA and FMSD are designed to be "crowdsourced", so that anyone who has something to contribute can do so, and gain satisfaction, approval and greater community status as a good man of the Tribe.

None of these newer-style groups have, or need:

-Membership dues
-By-laws
-Elected officials or top-down hierarchy
- Treasurers or 501(c)3 status

Instead, we "use the Internet as our bitch".

There is an online publicity system in place to promote events that encourage friendly, in-person social events, which can be created by ANYONE. The word goes out (via email, Facebook, blog, calendar, or whatever). Folks show up, hug and renew friendships while welcoming shy newbies, and the event succeeds.

Repeat as many times as you want. It always works great. Humans are hard-wired to need social interaction, and to be a part of something larger than ourselves.

The guys that show up are not interested so much in WEARING LEATHER (or whatever gear turns them on), as they are in "Living Leather".  It's not fashion, it's our lives.

We actively encourage the sharing of wisdom at every opportunity. Useful information flows in every direction at all times, because every one of us needs help with:

- Relationships of all kinds
- Sexuality and intimacy
- Coping mechanisms that help us get through life
- Play technique and philosophy

...and much, much more.

By building a wide-ranging social structure that encourages trust between dissimilar men, we are more likely to get information that can help us all succeed and thrive. It's awfully nice to have lots of dependable, sweet friends, too.



Back to the event:


By the end of its first day, FMLA had more online followers than any other gay leathermen's affinity-group in the Los Angeles area. If FetishMenLosAngeles grows like its brother clubs, it will be truly massive in a very short time.  After all, Los Angeles is a really big, diverse city!

Based upon the enormous smiles, close and intimate conversations, glorious diversity and sheer joy present at the gallery (followed by rapturous reviews on Facebook), I'm certain that FetishMenLosAngeles will grow like a weed, just like its brother clubs.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How YOU Can Add New Brothers To FMSD, Any Time, Anywhere.

This is an updated re-post from a while ago - It's the reason why so many new members come to us and then stick around:



Hat-tip to the brilliant Jerry Altman for the idea… This is why our group has grown to over 4,000 new members in 35 months!

If your cell-phone has the ability to browse the web, please add this link to your phone's favorites (instructions for the iPhone and Android are at the bottom of this message):



Let's say you're at a bar, or a party, or on a date, and you're talking to a guy who is eager to get connected with a local, supportive network of trustworthy, kinky men. Rather than try to dig out a grimy card from the depths of your wallet (IF you have one), just tap on a friendly icon to open the page on your phone (it looks just like an app), hand it to him so that he can type in his email and maybe a note of introduction, verify that it's accurately entered, and hit "Submit"... The invisible "Dominate" button only becomes visible if the phone senses that it's appropriate for the guy holding the phone :-)


The page is optimized for mobile web, and allows people to easily and securely add their emails to our ever-growing mailing list. It also "recycles" back to the beginning, so that you can easily keep adding more and more people as the evening continues.

The great big "Tap Here For Slide Show" link means that you can show your buddy recent pictures of our events, so he can imagine himself in the mix.

WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT

I've been enticing people into joining the group, but I've found that old-style enrollment methods don't work well:

- If the enthusiastic men of our group hand out 250 highly-professional-looking cards, only one new member shows up on the list. That's a terrible rate of return. Those cards aren't cheap, either.

- If I bring a clipboard with a sign-up sheet to an event and tell folks what is newly available in San Diego's Tribe, men will gladly hand over their email addresses, and less than one percent will un-subscribe later on. This works really well in comparison to all other methods. There are several problems, though - No matter how carefully people sign up, there are at least 20 percent that are never added because their emails are unclearly written due to darkness, lack of reading-glasses, poor penmanship due to dependence on keyboards for the last few decades, or whatever. Plus, there is only one guy with a clipboard, IF I remember to bring it.

- Don't even get me started on flyers, mailers, handouts, posters or postcards. It's not 1982 any more.

Our new, mobile-optimized link multiplies the effectiveness because:

- The phone has a built-in light for data-entry in a dark environment. If we ask the guy filling out the form to enter and then verify the data, there is zero likelihood that later re-entry will be inaccurate. You MIGHT want to hand over your reading-glasses if he forgot to bring his, or hand the phone to a younger guy with better eyes!

- It increases the network of willing advocates for the group, and empowers YOU to influence how things go in the future. If the good-hearted men that I've met at every single one of our events are ready for better days, then I know that you'll be happy to share your experience by helping to add more men to the mix. Think of it as an investment in decades of joyful brotherhood for us all!



IPHONE INSTRUCTIONS:


Open the link at the top of this message, using your iPhone. Tap the icon at the bottom center of the screen, and choose "Add to Home Screen", then tap "Add". This will add a nice "FMSD" icon to the end of your iPhone's final home page, ready to tap when you meet an enthusiastic and sociable man who would thrive in our environment of joyful acceptance..



ANDROID INSTRUCTIONS:

Open the link at the top of this message, using your Android phone. Hit the menu button, tap Add to Bookmarks, add it, and then hold down your finger on that new bookmark, and then "Add Shortcut to Home'.

Upcoming Events

As always, check the FMSD monthly calendar-at-a-glance
which contains news about ALL known upcoming events. 
Be sure to click on "More Info" to get the best details!

From Gary: Regarding meningitis vaccination: I have been told that Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens are offering the shot for approximately $60.00 with insurance. It's about $150 without insurance.


Recent Articles

LAST CALL: Ride-Sharing to Los Angeles This Saturday


I have now posted the audio of the "How To Build Real Community in the Internet Age, Part Two: Men In Crowds" talk that I gave to our DFA brothers in Palm Springs this last weekend, plus another one-on-one talk I gave ("Constituency vs. Bossiness vs. Title Vest vs. Leadership") as well. They can be found here.

A Taste of Palm Springs Comes to San Diego (thanks, Jim!)




Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 25. In conjunction with Dining out for Life, we'll do another gear invasion. AIDS/HIV charities get a percentage of the food and beverages we purchase. The current consensus seems to be going to Wang's North Park, as some people want to go to the Eagle afterwards. Street legal gear (what ever your fetish) is welcome. 


Friday, April 26 (fourth Friday of each month), 10pm: Dress It Up/Strip It Down (Gear Night) @ the San Diego Eagle, at 3040 N Park Way


Saturday, April 27, 5PM: FetishMenLosAngeles Kickoff Event, at Antebellum Gallery at 1643 N. Las Palmas Ave in Hollywood. We will be ride-sharing to Los Angeles together.


Saturday, April 27 (fourth Saturday of each month), 10pm: Underwear Party and Contest @ the San Diego Eagle, at 3040 N Park Wayhosted by our own Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013 Robb Rodd!


Sunday, April 28th, 1PM: Annual IML Send-OFF BBQ Party at the Pink Palace - THE social event of the season!


Wednesday, May 1 (every Wednesday), 7PM: Men's Discussions. Tonight's topic: Leather Families
Wednesday, May 1, 9PM: Puppy NightSan Diego Eagle, at 3040 North Park Way.


Thursday, May 2 (first and third Thursday of each month), 10pm: Yellow Hankie Social Night @ the San Diego Eagle, at 3040 N Park Way



Saturday, May 4 (first Saturday of each month), 4-7PM: Cigars & Boots at Bourbon Street at 4612 Park Blvd - Relaxed, happy, comfortable, serene. Pure brotherhood.


Saturday, May 4 (first Saturday of each month), 10PM: BearNight DanceNumbers Bar, at 3811 Park Blvd.



Friday, May 10 (second Friday of each month), 10PM: Harness PartyNumbers Bar, at 3811 Park Blvd.  Doug Long is this month's host (that's him on the left - he's at least twelve kinds of adorable!). Expect a LOT of people!


Sunday, May 19, 10PM: Long Beach Pride Parade. Mr. and Ms. San Diego Leather 2012 will be attending. Aaron thinks it would nice if we could get a group of San Diego folks to head up to LB and show some support. All the folks in LB have been quite supportive of us. If you are interested, please email him at aaronbduke @ yahoo.com, and we can arrange a caravan.


May 29 at 7:30pm until June 2 at 10:30pm: FilmOut San Diego's 15th Anniversary LGBT Film Festival, featuring FetishMenSanDiego's special presentation of Interior: Leather Bar.



FilmOut San Diego's 15th Anniversary LGBT Film Festival


May 29 at 7:30pm until June 2 at 10:30pm

FilmOut San Diego’s 15th Annual LGBT Film Festival will take place from May 29 – June 2, 2013. Over 35 films will be screened during the five-day film festival at the historic Birch North Park Theatre in San Diego. Sixteen films will have their premiere with FilmOut San Diego along with award-winning films from both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, along with independent features and a variety of short films. Q&A’s will follow many films with director and cast members in attendance. The Opening Night Film and Party will take place on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 7:30pm and our Closing Night Party will end the festival on Sunday, June 2, 2013 after the last film of the evening.

Opening Night Film: Darren Stein’s G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) – stars Michael J. Willet, Paul Iacono, Sasha Pieterse with Megan Mullally, Natasha Lyonne, Rebecca Gayheart and Jonathan Silverman.

— WEST COAST PREMIERE!

Opening Night Party at: Claire de Lune Sunset Temple Ballroom
(3911 Kansas Street, San Diego, CA 92104 — Directly across the street from the theatre): 10:00pm to midnight.

Closing Night Film: Jeffrey Schwarz’s I AM DIVINE – CALIFORNIA PREMIERE!
Closing Night Party at: West Coast Tavern
(2895 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104 — In the lobby of the Birch North Park Theatre): 9:00pm to 10:30pm.

Boys Centerpiece: Rosser Goodman’s LOVE OR WHATEVER
Girls Centerpiece: Dominique Cardona & Laurie Colbert’s MARGARITA
Audience Spotlight: Corey James Krueckeberg’s THE GO DOC PROJECT — WEST COAST PREMIERE!
Festival Spotlight: Jane Clark’s METH HEAD — WEST COAST PREMIERE!
International Spotlight: Michael Mayer’s OUT IN THE DARK

Official Sundance Selections:

James Franco & Travis Matthew’s INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR. — CALIFORNIA PREMIERE! Co-Hosted by FetishMenSanDiego

Yen Tan’s PIT STOP — CALIFORNIA PREMIERE!

LAST CALL: Ride-Sharing to Los Angeles This Saturday

There's already a jolly crew traveling to L.A. to show support for our brothers in Los Angeles for the very first gathering of FetishMenLosAngeles (FMLA), the newest Southern California brother club for FetishMenSanDiego (FMSD)  and Desert Fetish Authority (DFA):




FetishMenLosAngeles Kickoff Event on Saturday, April 27th from 5-8PM, at Antebellum Gallery at 1643 N. Las Palmas Ave in Hollywood.



Send an email to PAPATONY @ MAC.COM if you are interested.

We will be ride-sharing from San Diego to Los Angeles, and we have several vehicles already lined up.

This will be a day-trip, where we leave from Papa Tony's home in the morning, enjoy some bonding together during the trip, relax for a bit and then attend the event starting at 4PM.

Our goal is to show affectionate support for our brothers from Palm Springs, Long Beach and Los Angeles at the Antebellum art-gallery, and out in back on the patio:



Be sure to review the Proper Protocols of Acceptable Behavior for the FMLA Kickoff Event.

After it's done, we will be heading back that same night, sharing the driving chores.

Why?  Because we want to be back in time for this on Sunday….

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Upcoming Events

As always, check the FMSD monthly calendar-at-a-glance, which contains news about ALL known upcoming events.  I just added a few major events below - Don't forget to look and make plans!

Regarding the Meningitis Vaccines:

From: Gary

Papa Tony - I am getting my shot tomorrow, make the group aware that most doctors have the vaccine on back order so they should call to be put on the waiting list.

From: Terry

Glad you are sounding the alert. It is triggering hyper-vigilence in all of us who survived the 80's.

Given the NY outbreak and the timing of the Black Party in NY and the White Party in PS, there is good reason for gay men to be well informed.

Keep the pressure on for free vaccine clinics from County Public Health. Also, private insurance covers the vaccine cost for all Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plans and can be obtained at pharmacies with vaccine clinics (eg. CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens etc).

From: Papa Tony

I'm still following through and talking to various people. As soon as I know more, I will pass it along. Los Angeles is offering free vaccinations. Further info. I'm getting pissed-off at the the automatic, knee-jerk nay-sayers who love to rub poop on health alerts. Personally, I've attended too many "Die-Ins" 25 years ago to believe people, just because they happen to wear white lab-coats. Our community has not been at the top of too many priority lists in the past.





Updates:

• We will NOT be meeting at the usual place for the Men's discussions on Wednesday, April 24. Instead, we will be taking a "Field Trip" to the Beer, BBQ, Butts, and Boobs benefit at Numbers, starting at 7PM.

• There will be a group of us ride-sharing together to the Kickoff Event for our brother club FetishMenLosAngeles on Saturday, April 27th, and then we will be coming RIGHT BACK in time for the big benefit on Sunday, April 28th.  Email me at papatony @ mac.com if you want to be part of the crew.



Recent Articles:

• Proper Protocols of Acceptable Behavior for the FMLA Kickoff Event. If you've ever wanted to truly understand what our various Southern California groups are about, read this.

• HEALTH ALERT: Meningitis Spreads to San Diego's Community

Book Recommendations. I quote from these books during the Men's Discussions all of the time. Here are the cheap places to get them!

• Review of the HARNESS Party, April 2013 - Thanks to everyone who honored my request. You made this the best one ever!

IML Send-OFF BBQ Party at the Pink Palace - You do NOT want to miss this.



Upcoming Events:

Friday April 19, 10:30pm: STUD Night @ the Eagle, at 3040 North Park Way. Featured guest will be Trey Matthews from Dirty Tony.

Saturday, April 20, 9:30PM: LL Bear Dance PartyRich's, at 1051 University. Third Saturday of each month.



Wednesday, April 24, 6PM-9:30PM: Beer, BBQ, Butts, and Boobs - Fundraiser Benefiting The Leather Realm Area At The San Diego Pride Festival.

Thursday, April 25. In conjunction with Dining out for Life, we'll do another gear invasion. AIDS/HIV charities get a percentage of the food and beverages we purchase. The current consensus seems to be going to Wang's North Park, as some people want to go to the Eagle afterwards. Street legal gear (what ever your fetish) is welcome. 


Sunday, April 28th, 1PM: Annual IML Send-OFF BBQ Party at the Pink Palace - THE social event of the season!



Saturday, May 4th, 8PM: Skintight/Frosted Benefit at Pistons Bar at 2020 E Artesia Blvd in Long Beach.


Friday, May 10, 10PM; FETISH FINDS @ Numbers Bar, at 3811 Park Blvd:  Need gear, or looking for more? So many of us have gear that we "outgrew" or don't use anymore. Let's pass it down to those who can make more memories. Come out to our first annual Fetish Rummage Sale during Harness and stay for all the hot men.  Giving Back: The proceeds will go to the Leather Foundation to support our leather community here in SD. Bring anything you're looking to donate and desire to pass down. If you desire to donate before the event feel free to contact MrEagleSD2012 @ gmail.com. See you there!




May 24-27: International Mr. Leather 2013 Contest in Chicago. Let's all cheer for our own Kane, who will be competing!






Thursday, May 23rd – Monday, May 27th: Nasty Kink Pigs Weekend in Palm Springs






Last time we had a Movie Night, August 2012.


Saturday, June 1, 10PM: Movie Night @ Birch North Park Theater at 2891 University Ave, featuring the new James Franco/Travis Mathews movie "Interior: Leather Bar"




July 12-14: Wet'n Hot in Palm Springs, CA







Sunday, July 28, 11am to 6pmUp Your Alley Street Fair in San Francisco. There will be a group of San Diegans traveling together.




July 31-August 5: Lazy Bear Weekend in Guerneville, California








Sunday, September 29, 11am to 6pm:  Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco



November 7-10: Palm Springs Leather Pride



January 17-20: Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend 2014

Skintight/Frosted Benefit at Pistons Bar in Long Beach



Saturday, May 4, 8pm @ Pistons Bar at 2020 E Artesia Blvd in Long Beach.


A dessert auction and rubber night to benefit AIDS Lifecycle duo of Roadie Eric and Rider Buzz.

Event emceed by Mr. Pistons Leather 2013, Gus Norris.

Bring a dessert and a hunger for your favorite stud to be auctioned off.

Happy hour prices for all who come dressed in latex, spandex or neoprene.

We will be also have a bootblack on duty and hot dessert boys ready to feed you samples.

Your $5 suggested donation at the door gets entry for raffle prizes.

Movie Night @ Birch North Park Theater


BIG NEWS - MIDNIGHT SCREENING OF "INTERIOR: LEATHER BAR" MOVIE!!!

Last time we had a Movie Night, August 2012.

Film Festival 10PM, Saturday, June 1, at the Birch North Park Theater, at 2891 University Ave.

This is extraordinary, specific to our local Tribe, and amazingly wonderful. We are getting a special, just-for-us screening of James Franco's new movie about the lost "pornographic" forty minutes of the 1980 film CRUISING. I am SO excited!  This will be our third movie night, and I don't see a single problem with filling EVERY SEAT, based on how our Tribe has been going.


Tell your friends, gear UP if you've got it, and get there a bit early - We'll DEFINITELY be doing another special set of surrounding circumstances to make this EXTRA SPICY!

Book Recommendations

This list will continue to grow as time goes by.  Drop a line to me at papatony @ mac.com if you would like to add to it. Be sure to include your own review.



The Male Couple - How Relationships Develop, by Drew Mattison and David McWhirter. Buy it used herehereherehereherehere and here. Don't spend more than ten bucks - There are a lot of very good deals.

I give credit to this book for my nearly 23-year relationship. I consider it to be THE SHOP MANUAL for gay-male, long-term relationships.  It's methodical, it's dry, but it's worth going through and STUDYING with every bit of your concentration, because it is the first scientific, clinical study of male-male relationships of durations between one year and over fifty years.

If you're in a relationship, it will help you relax more and accept the natural phases that all male-male relationships go through, and that are clearly explained in the book.  If you're looking for a relationship that lasts, then this will help you start with a much more realistic viewpoint, with a high likelihood of succeeding.




Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá. Buy it used here, here, here and here. Kindle version is here for $9.99. Try not to spend more than ten bucks (Apple is selling the ebook for almost $25!) - There are a lot of very good deals.

This one has the "traditional" believers in monogamy FREAKED OUT, and when you read it, you can see why.  It landed upon the sociology community like an atomic bomb, and there is even a small industry in new books written specifically to pick THIS book apart, and diminish its impact.  It's really rattling the Judeo-Christian community's cage, big time. It completely discounts the religious strictures on sex, scientifically.

The authors make an absolutely solid case for monogamy being abnormal for humans. They assert that it was imposed upon us as a cultural artifact. They explain why your penis has a head on it: it is shaped to suction other men's semen out of the way so that yours has a better chance at fertilization during a gangbang. They go on and on, and NAIL the explanations.

It's a fun, easy read. Piss off a fundamentalist, and pass it along!




The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures,  by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

I haven't read this yet, but Magnum really likes it. I have the ebook and the audiobook. Time to start enjoying it!

Here is what it says on Amazon.com (you can buy it used, here):

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle--from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms. 

"I couldn't stop reading it, and I for one identify as an ethical slut. This is a book for anyone interested in creating more pleasure in their lives . . . a complete guide to improving any style of relating, from going steady to having an extended family of sexual friends." --Betty Dodson, PhD, author of Sex for One


HEALTH ALERT: Meningitis Spreads to San Diego's Community

Two Meningococcal Disease Cases Confirmed

"A 22-year-old man died last week and a 47-year-old man is currently hospitalized from confirmed meningococcal disease, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today. Two cases of probable meningococcal disease were also reported. The general public is not at risk for exposure from any of the cases reported today."



Note from Tony: The "GENERAL PUBLIC" is not at risk - WE ARE. Gay males that greet each other with affectionate smooches have been DYING, in New York, Los Angeles, and now the disease is cropping up in unusual numbers in SAN DIEGO

This is serious, and a real thing. This is a particularly NASTY version, where one in three guys that get it DIE within a very short time. It has spread outward from New York City, where they are on full alert, to Los Angeleswhere the folks in charge don't seem to give a crap, and now to San Diego and Tijuana. This article covers the facts.



DON'T BE A VECTOR. Hugging is fine. Cut way back on greeting your brothers with lip-smacking kisses on the mouth, at least until this blows over. This will also cut way down on seasonal colds and flus, too.

It's all very nice for folks with easy finances to be advised to get vaccinated with their health provider ($165!?!?), but what about our brothers who are too broke to have that option?

Let's crowd-source this, and FIND OUT where free vaccinations may be found. Start by calling (619) 543-8080 and demanding to know what is being done.  Los Angeles County is being CRUCIFIED for not taking this seriously, and we don't want San Diego to be all la-di-da about it until more of our brothers are dead.



Yes, I'm freaking out - I've seen way too much death in our community caused by ignorance and inertia from public officials. If it makes me look like an alarmist, I can live with that. I don't want a single one of my brothers to suffer or die.

As a man who has lost so many, many of my loved ones, I'm easily freaked-out.



“Meningococcal disease is not spread through casual contact,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The risk to persons who are not in close, direct contact with an infected individual is minimal.”

The previously healthy 22-year-old was admitted to a local hospital on April 9 and died the following day. The 47-year-old was hospitalized on April 14 and remains in critical condition at a local hospital. These cases are not related to each other. HHSA has identified all close contacts of the individuals and they have received preventive antibiotic treatment.

There have been five confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in the county in 2013 and this is the second reported death due to the bacteria this year. HHSA is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Mexican public health officials to determine if these illnesses may be related to any of the cases of meningococcal disease identified in Tijuana this year. Twenty cases of the bacterial disease have been confirmed in Baja California since January 4, including seven deaths. There are no changes in routine health recommendations for those who are travelling to Tijuana.

The first probable case is a 31-year-old previously healthy man who is recovering at a local hospital after being admitted on April 9 for fever, headache and rash. The second is a 44-year-old previously healthy woman who is currently hospitalized after being admitted on April 9 for fever, confusion, and rash. Both cases are considered probable because a case can only be confirmed when a specimen from the individual grows the bacteria in a laboratory culture, which cannot always be done. All close contacts of these two probable cases have been identified and provided preventive antibiotic treatment. These are the only probable cases that have been reported this year.

Since 2005, the number of confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in San Diego County has ranged from four to 14, with an average of nine cases per year. There were eight confirmed cases and one probable case reported in 2012.

“Although four unrelated cases being reported during the same week may be concerning, the number of cases so far this year is what we would expect from a county with a population of more than 3 million,” said Dr. Wooten.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck, and a rash that does not blanch under pressure. Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare provider or emergency room for evaluation of possible meningococcal disease.

The bacteria can be spread through close contact, such as sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, cigarettes, or water bottles. It can also be spread by kissing, sharing cigarettes and living in close quarters. The time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms can be between two to 10 days. Individuals who had close contact with a person with meningococcal disease should receive antibiotics to prevent possible infection.

A vaccine is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease. It is routinely recommended for children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age. Families are strongly encouraged to make sure their pre-teen and adolescent children are up-to-date on all recommended vaccines, including the meningococcal vaccine. Some individuals may be at higher risk for meningococcal disease and should discuss vaccination with their healthcare providers. To find out more information about this vaccine-preventable disease, please visit www.sdiz.org.