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Winter/Spring Brings Increased Meningitis Risk - Protect Preteens and Teens Now
Date:12/21/2009

ATLANTA, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This winter, while many parents are focused on influenza prevention, the National Meningitis Association (NMA) is urging parents to also protect their families from meningococcal disease, a deadly but potentially vaccine preventable bacterial infection. Linda Fryer's 16-year-old daughter Adrienne lost her life in less than 24 hours to what initially seemed like the flu. The killer was in fact meningococcal disease, which can lead to death or permanent disability within hours. Since her daughter's death, Linda has learned that preteens and teens are at particular risk for the illness, and that there is a vaccine available to help prevent it.

Sometimes, the early symptoms of meningococcal meningitis -- fever, aches and exhaustion -- can be mistaken for flu; however, meningococcal disease can quickly become life-threatening. Although meningococcal disease can strike anytime, late winter and early spring is peak season. With students home for winter break, NMA is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated now against this devastating disease.

"While flu prevention is important, it is also critical that parents are aware of meningococcal disease, which can be easily misdiagnosed as the flu," said Lynn Bozof, President of the National Meningitis Association. "Because it moves so quickly and can be so destructive, the best treatment for meningococcal disease is prevention."

Preteens and adolescents at greater risk

Preteens and adolescents are at greater risk for meningococcal disease, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the estimated 2,000 cases that occur in the U.S. each year. The majority of cases among preteens and teens can potentially be prevented through vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens 11 through 18 years of age and college freshmen living in dormit
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SOURCE National Meningitis Association
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