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Health officials issue warning about meningitis death

Posted: September 8, 2012 at 12:18 am

By Robert Vitale

The Columbus Dispatch Friday September 7, 2012 5:42 PM

Columbus health officials issued a rare public-health notice today, following the bacterial-meningitis death of a Pittsburgh man who spent Labor Day weekend in the Short North.

Joseph Christopher Cecchini, 29, died on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, according to Dr. Jim Lando, chief of epidemiology and biostatistics for the Allegheny County Health Department. Officials there contacted Columbus Public Health because meningitis is contagious for people who come in close contact with an infected person.

Cecchini went by the name Joe Christopher, which was used in the public notice by Columbus health officials. He came to Columbus last Saturday and went home on Monday, Columbus Public Health spokesman Jose Rodriguez said.

Cecchini was the president and publisher of Cue magazine, a Pittsburgh-based publication for gay readers.

Because he was a local businessman here ... he could have had a lot of contacts, Rodriguez said.

He said Columbus Public Health officials had given a preventative antibiotic to about 10 people bythis afternoon.

Bacterial meningitis is spread through saliva respiratory-droplet spread, Lando said thats exchanged during coughing or sneezing in close proximity, or when people kiss or share food, a beverage or cigarette.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, however, that the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as the flu or common cold.

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Health officials issue warning about meningitis death

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