City Health Dept.'s Meningococcal Vaccination Drive Tops 10,000 Mark

Fri. October 24, 2003 12:00 AM

City Expands Shot Availability Thru Sunday

Chicago, IL - The 10,000th person to be immunized in the city's meningococcal vaccination drive was served shortly after 9 a.m. today, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials reported today.

Because community response to the public health effort remains so strong and enthusiastic, and to serve the needs of people whose work or travel schedules have kept them from getting vaccinated on a weekday, CDPH today announced that its Halsted Street site will expand its hours to Saturday and Sunday.

"Thus far, this is one of the most successful mobilizations of public health resources in the history of our city, and even of the nation," stated CDPH Commissioner John Wilhelm, M.D. "Seeing the dedicated public health workers, seeing the strong outpouring of response from all segments of the community, and seeing the way in which the news media and others helped us keep the tone measured and factual, reminds me of how the city successfully mobilized to defeat polio in the 1950s and '60s.

"We're already getting calls from other health departments across Illinois and across North America, asking us how Chicago has done so much in so short a time."

The number of recently-identified cases of meningitis on the city's North Side remains at six, three of whom have died.

The five sites currently offering shots are:

- - Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. today and Friday.

- - Storefront at 3345 N. Halsted (next door to Sidetrack video bar), 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. today and Friday, 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, and 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday.

- - Howard Brown Health Center, 4025 N. Sheridan, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. today, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

- - CDPH Lakeview Clinic, 2861 N. Clark, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday.

- - CDPH Uptown Clinic, 845 W. Wilson, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday.

Each site offers vaccinations at no charge to people who have had close, direct contact with gay and bisexual men in social settings on Chicago's North Side since October 1. Shots are for people who are currently well; those who feel ill are advised to contact their physician or health care provider.

"Close, direct contact" is defined as:

- - kissing the mouth/lips of another person

- - other saliva-to-saliva contact (sneezing or coughing directly in the face)

- - sharing items that have been in another person's mouth or nose, like:

- - beverage containers like cups, glasses, sport bottles

- - drinking straws

- - eating utensils like spoons and forks

- - cigarettes, cigars and pipes

- - drug paraphernalia

- - sexual contact

The vaccination is a simple, one-time shot in the arm that may cause slight, temporary soreness, but which provides years of immunity against meningococcal disease.

People who are allergic to latex, or to thimerosal, or who have had a negative reaction to this vaccine in the past, should not receive the vaccine.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis that can be rapidly fatal if not treated with antibiotics. It happens in two forms: meningitis and bloodstream infection.

The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease first infect the inside of a person's throat and nose, but most often cause no symptoms at all. In fact, 5 to 10 percent of all people may carry Neisseria meningitidis in their noses at any given time without becoming ill. In a small percentage of people carrying the bacteria, the bacteria pass into the bloodstream, causing illness. These illnesses almost always occur within 4 days of having been exposed to the bacteria, but sometimes it can take as long as 10 days for symptoms to develop.

Meningococcal disease usually starts with a sudden onset of fever and severe headache. A stiff neck may also develop, and rash often occurs. Nausea and vomiting sometimes occur as well, but may not be a sign of meningococcal disease unless the other described symptoms are also present. Immediate medical treatment is needed for meningococcal disease - - the condition can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

News Story: (10/18) Chicago Issues Meningitis Alert To Gays After Three Die

Chicago Department of Public Health -

Warning as Issued by the CDPH