Charlotte School Nurses Urge Vaccination Against Meningitis

The School Nurses Association of North Carolina (SNANC) is urging all Charlotte parents to have their preteen and teenage children vaccinated against meningococcal disease now that school is back in session. Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious bacterial infection that can cause meningitis and take the life of a child in just a single day.

Public health officials recommend meningococcal vaccination for preteens and teens; however, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey found that in North Carolina, less than half of adolescents 13 through 17 years of age have been vaccinated against the disease. This is far below the CDC’s goal of a 90 percent vaccination rate by the end of 2010.

School nurses in North Carolina have joined the Voices of Meningitis campaign to reach parents of preteens and teens about the importance of meningitis vaccination now that school is back in session. Every health-care visit is an opportunity to discuss meningitis vaccination.

Voices of Meningitis is a public education initiative that brings together school nurses, parents, survivors of the disease and public health officials nationwide to share their experiences to help educate families with preteen and teenage children about prevention. Voices of Meningitis is a program of the National Association of School Nurses in collaboration with sanofi pasteur.

Preteens and teens are at greater risk for getting meningitis and are more likely to die compared with other age groups. Of those who survive, up to one in five is left with serious medical problems, including amputation of limbs, brain damage, deafness and other organ damage.

Everyday activities like spending long periods of time in large groups or sharing water bottles during sports practices can put even healthy kids at increased risk for the disease.

Vaccination has been available for years and is a safe and effective way to help protect against meningitis.

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