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National Meningitis Association Launches Interactive Online Panel About Meningitis Dangers
Date:5/11/2009

iscover a rash taking over his son's body. Realizing it was meningococcal disease, the parents rushed Brendan to the hospital, but it was too late. Brendan died only 16 hours after the onset of his first symptoms.

Kathy Huddleson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- Kathy's 20-year-old daughter Elizabeth was a junior at the University of Northern Iowa when she died of meningococcal disease. Kathy and her husband awoke one morning to a phone call from Elizabeth's boyfriend saying Elizabeth was in the hospital and had stopped breathing. The Huddlesons did not take time to ask questions, and hurried to the hospital. It wasn't until they arrived and were told "it doesn't look good" that the extent of Elizabeth's illness took hold. Elizabeth died before her parents were able to see her.

Marybeth Leeber of Stony Point, New York -- Marybeth did not know about meningococcal disease until it nearly took the life of her 5-year-old daughter, Lauren. The day before Halloween, Lauren began feeling ill from flu-like symptoms. When a purplish rash developed on her body, Lauren's pediatrician recognized it as a classic symptom of meningococcal disease and had Lauren rushed to the hospital. To save her life, doctors had to amputate Lauren's right hand, the fingertips of her left hand and both her legs below the knee. Lauren also had to undergo a kidney transplant due to complications from the disease.

About Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease, commonly called meningitis, is a serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection that strikes nearly 3,000 Americans annually. It is often misdiagnosed as something less serious because early symptoms -- which may include sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck -- are similar to the flu. Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, altered mental status and seizures often accompany these
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SOURCE National Meningitis Association
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