What is Meningitis?
Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. Five subtypes can rapidly develop into serious illness or death over a period of one or two days, in some instances within a matter of hours.
What are the symptoms?
Early stages of meningitis resemble the flu with fever, headache, and stiff neck. Some cases also include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and confusion. These symptoms can rapidly worsen. Infants have slightly different symptoms: inactive, irritable, vomiting, feeding poorly, or have a bulging in the soft spot of the skull.
How serious is bacterial meningitis?
Many victims suffer permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, blindness, brain damage, or limb amputation. Even with treatment, statistics show that 10-15% of cases will result in death.
Who is at risk?
Meningococcal meningitis strikes nearly 3,000 Americans each year. Recent data from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that military personnel and college freshmen are at a six-fold increased risk of contracting the disease. This is due to crowded, communal living quarters, lifestyle, and irregular sleep patterns.
Is Meningococcal Meningitis preventable?
There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines available in the United States:
6 Facts about meningococcal disease and prevention:
1) Anyone at any age can get meningococcal disease, but teens and young adults are among those who are at increased risk.
2) Although rare, meningococcal disease can develop rapidly and can claim a life in as little as one day. Even with treatment, 10 to 15 percent of those who get the infection will die from it.
3) Among those who survive, as many as 19 percent live with permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, loss of kidney function or limb amputations.
4) Meningococcal disease is contagious. The bacteria that cause the infection can spread when people have contact with someone's saliva, like through kissing, coughing, sharing beverages or even cosmetics.
5) Vaccination is the best defense against meningococcal disease, yet the majority of teens have missed a critical dose of the MenACWY vaccine at age 16. In fact, less than half of U.S. teens have received the recommended second vaccination.
6) For the best protection against meningococcal disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine MenACWY vaccination for adolescents starting at ages 11-12 years, with a second dose at 16 years of age.
Get your teen the CDC recommended second MenACWY shot they need!!
Parents: Don't Wait. Talk with your child's health care provider to get your teen the second dose they may need to help protect them from meningococcal meningitis. It's also a good opportunity to ask about other recommended vaccinations at your teen's 16-year visit.
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