Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal disease is the leading cause of meningitis. Meningococcal disease is amongst the leading causes of death in infants, and 50-60% of cases are vaccine preventable.
I know not all parents choose to vaccinate their children. I've even considered not vaccinating my children, but eventually I decided that I would vaccinate. I hope to not have this turn into a debate, but I do want to share this information with everyone.
The CDC estimates that the incidence of meningococcal disease is three to seven times higher in infants under one year of age than any other age group. Infants are at the highest risk in the first seven months of life. Combine that with the fact that about 1 in 16 children who contract meningococcal disease will die from it, you have a very scary situation.
If those who do get this disease don't die, they are faced with some very serious complications including blindness, hearing loss, strokes, paralysis, seizures, severe scarring, organ damage, and brain damage. Infants aren't the only people who can get meningococcal disease, and I can say I have seen this first hand in an adult. Meningitis is NOT merciful.
Symptoms often start off as flu-like symptoms, but the disease can progress so rapidly that an affected person can die from it in as little as a four hours. That is why I believe that children should be vaccinated for the four groups of meningococcal disease is possible to be vaccinated against. You could think your precious baby just has the flu...and within hours, it could be too late.
According to the information on Meningitis Angels, the meningococcal vaccine is only approved for use in children 9 months old and older, but a vaccine for 2 months and older is in the works.
The site also says "We are at a critical time in fighting this disease. Meningococcal meningitis is one of the leading causes of infant deaths. Infants account for about 35% of the 2,500 + cases of meningococcal disease in the US each year. As many as 17% of these will result in amputations, blindness, deafness, organ failure, severe brain damage, seizures, learning disabilities and worse death. As part of our infant toddler meningococcal educational program, we have developed this web site http://www.protectinfantsnow.org." You can also sign this petition if you feel that this vaccine should be recommended by the CDC.
Whether or not you feel vaccines are right for your children, please understand that many parents do wish to protect their children with vaccines. I can only imagine how the parents of those who have died, or suffered, because of meningococcal disease wish that there was a vaccine they could have given their children.
“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central and Meningitis Angels. This campaign was made possible in part through support provided by Novartis Vaccines. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank-you for participating. All opinions in this posting are 100% my own."