Monday, January 30, 2012

Meningitis Awareness... Did you know?

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" 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."

4 fantastic comments:

Danielle @ We Have It All said...

Neisseria meningococcal is only associated with about 1,400 to 3,000 cases [of meningitis] per year in the United States, out of 308 million Americans. There are five strains (serotypes): A, B, C, Y, and W135. A third to half of the cases of Neisseria meningococcal disease is caused by strain B. And that strain is NOT in the vaccine.

In children under the age of five, strain B is responsible for 66 to 70 percent of the cases of meningitis. Infants under the age of one are now the new target age group being considered for this vaccine recommendation—despite the fact that:

a.The bacterial strain responsible for the vast majority of the cases is NOT included in the vaccine, and
b.In the last nine years, there has been an average of 16 fatalities per year from the Neisseria meningococcal infection in children under the age of 12 months.

The proposed policy is now to vaccinate EVERY child at two, four, six and 12 months, and then again at 11 to 12 years of age, and at 16 years of age. That's six doses of a meningococcal vaccine that does not cover 30 to 70 percent of the cases that actually occur, depending on the age group.

Six in the Nest said...


Thanks for the information! It was an interesting read (the link). I don't think that the vaccine is completely unwarranted, but perhaps every child in the US shouldn't have it. And I don't think that vaccination for this should be mandatory for any child.

However, even if only sixteen children are saved from this (or even just one) disease each year because of the vaccine I think it is worth it, and would likely choose to have it for my child. I couldn't even imagine what I would do if my child were to die from meningococcal disease.


Coupon Queen said...

I remember growing up in the 60s and 70s and if you didn't have all the shots required you wern't allowed in school. Do they still do this in schools? I had a friend get Meningits when she was 15 and the whole school was so worried she was going to pass away. She survived but the road to recovery was very long, she had to relearn so many things because of brain damage. It was almost the whole school year before she was back in classes. Very scary! I agree with you, if even one child is saved then the vaccine is worth it.

Sadie said...

Coupon Queen, they SAY vaccines are required for school, but they're not. 48 states have religious or personal exemptions, and all 50 have medical exemptions. Why would all 50 states have medical exemptions if vaccines don't hurt or kill kids sometimes? Food for thought.

Also, it may save 16 kids and may kill 16. Who is to say it's worth it then, when yours is one that dies?

That is why it's important to educate yourself on the subject (everyone in general) instead of basing it on posts that were paid for by vaccine companies.

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