PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department has issued what it terms a “rare public-health notice” following a local man’s death from bacterial meningitis.

According to health officials, 29-year-old Joseph Cecchini of Squirrel Hill died from meningococcal meningitis on Wednesday.

He worked in the city and also went by the name Joe Christopher.

Officials are urging anyone who had close contact with Cecchini after Aug. 24 to take precautions.

In a press release, Acting Director of the Health Department Dr. Ron Voorhees, said:
“We want to make sure that people who have had close contact with Mr. Cecchini between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5 take precautions and get antibiotics to prevent the onset of symptoms. They also should seek care promptly if they become ill. People who were in close contact with Mr. Cecchini while he was coughing or sneezing, or who kissed or shared food, beverage or cigarettes with him should contact the Health Department to determine whether preventive antibiotics are needed.”

Health officials say “the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as the flu or common cold.”

In the press release, Dr. Voorhees added:
“Bacterial meningitis is not spread by just being in the same room with someone who is ill from meningitis. The bacteria do not survive long outside the body. You cannot become sick by simply touching surfaces that the ill person touched.”

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis include a sudden fever, stiff neck, rash, vomiting, headache and fatigue.

Allegheny County Health Department
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