Meningitis vaccination encouraged - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Meningitis vaccination encouraged

March 15, 2007

Albany-- There is a rare and sometimes deadly disease that strikes nearly three thousand Americans each year, but now immunization can prevent up to eighty three percent of cases in adolescents and young adults. Ten to twelve percent of those infected, with Meningococcal Meningitis will die and up to twenty percent of those who survive will have some form of long term disability.

Young adults and adolescents have an increased incidence of the disease, accounting for about thirty percent of U.S. Cases. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine for use among those eleven to fifty-five years old. Advocates for the vaccine say it can be dangerous to ignore.

"The CDC this past year, recently passed new recommendations that eleven and twelve year olds should be immunized, if a child is fifteen and entering high school, that student should be immunized. Any college student living in a dormitory also should be immunized. The National Meningitis Association looks at the age group from eleven to twenty six as being the highest at risk for contracting this disease" said Terri Corr, with The National Meningitis Assocition.

The disease is spread through the exchange of respiratory droplets, which includes sharing drinks or utensils, kissing or coughing and sneezing. Symptoms may include sudden high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion.

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