Surgeon discusses meningitis on Good Day L.A.

On Fox's Good Day L.A show on Wednesday Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia, a surgeon from La Peer, discussed steps people can take to protect themselves from meningitis.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and this inflammation can come from viruses, bacteria, other microorganisms and even from certain drugs. Symptoms of meningitis can be headache, neck stiffness, fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting and the inability to tolerate light.

The recent fears from meningitis come after a West Hollywood man who was diagnosed with the disease, died on Saturday. Ahluwalia emphasized that meningitis is not a "gay problem" and anyone can be infected, but acknowledged that experts have cautioned sexually active gay men to be vigilant for meningitis symptoms.

"Coughing, sneezing, kissing and close contact of any sort can transmit the disease," Ahluwalia said. "Anyone who is in close contact with somebody who may possibly have this disease should get the vaccine."

Ahluwalia went on to say the vaccine was safe.

"Other than the allergic reactions and rare side effects, there's no real downside that we know of (to the vaccine)," Ahluwalia said. "Let's attack (this disease) aggressively and make sure it doesn't spread."