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Video: Late Winter/Early Spring is Meningitis Peak Season: Is Your Preteen or Teen at Risk?

National Meningitis Association Urges Parents to Protect Their Preteens and Teens through Vaccination

MARIETTA, Ga., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- What began for Gerald Pe as a pleasant day at the beach quickly turned into a fight for his life and resulted in him losing portions of his feet and suffering organ failure. Lynn Bozof's son, Evan, called home from college to say he had a terrible headache, and within hours was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit; Evan died 26 days later. Gerald and Evan contracted meningococcal disease, more commonly known as meningitis, and your preteen and teenage children may also be at risk. Meningitis peak season is here, and the National Meningitis Association (NMA) is urging parents to get their children vaccinated now to protect them against this devastating disease.

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Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can lead to death or permanent disability within hours. The disease can be easily misdiagnosed since early symptoms often mimic those of the flu. Given its quick progression and devastating nature, prevention is the best approach to treating meningococcal disease.

"It wasn't until my son, Evan, died that my family learned about a simple vaccination that could have saved his life," said Lynn Bozof, Executive Director of NMA. "Meningococcal disease can strike anyone at any time, but cases peak in late winter and early spring. With meningitis peak season upon us, I encourage parents to speak with their child's healthcare provider about meningococcal vaccination."

Preteens and teens are at greater risk for meningococcal disease, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the estimated 3,000 cases that occur in the U.S. each year. The good news is the majority of these cases can potentially be prevented through vaccination. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens 11 through 18 years of age and college freshmen living in dormitories.

"I knew the meningococcal vaccine was recommended for teens, but I didn't realize how serious meningococcal disease can be or that I was at increased risk so I never made an appointment to get vaccinated," said Gerald Pe, a meningococcal disease survivor. "I almost lost my life to meningococcal disease. I urge you to have your preteens and teens vaccinated now."

For more information about meningococcal disease and prevention please visit NMA's Web site at:

SOURCE National Meningitis Association
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