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World Meningitis Day in Texas
Date:4/24/2009

HOUSTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Meningitis Angels, a national organization, will recognize World Meningitis Day (WMD) by enjoining Angels from around the world. The organization was founded in memory of Ryan Milley, the only child of Bob and Frankie Milley, and since has grown to include over 600 families in the U.S. and some 30+ abroad.

Frankie Milley serves as the national executive director and also works very hard as a children's health and immunization advocate. Milley, along with Angel meningitis survivors Leslie Meigs of Houston, Harley Beaty of Sheperd and Joan Vasbinder -- mom to son Vincent taken by meningitis -- of Austin, Texas, have been catalysts in the laws and rules for meningitis vaccinations in Texas since 2001. Meigs was 10 years old and Beaty was 5 years old the first time this advocacy team appeared in the Texas Senate.

Most recently Milley led the quest to write the rules request for a middle school entry requirement for Tdap and meningococcal meningitis. Milley, Meigs, Beaty and Vasbinder all testified in the health department hearing on this same rule and led a huge letter writing campaign to make it happen.

Thanks to the amazing immunization leadership and work of the Texas Health Department and support of Texas Senator Robert Deuell, this rule became a requirement as of March 5, 2009.

Milley said, "It was a huge step in protecting the lives of Texas students but was just a step in the ever-growing battle to prevent meningitis around the U.S. I believe to stop this deadly debilitating disease we must follow the CDC/ACIP meningococcal recommendation for ages 11-24 for vaccination, pneumococcal and HIB for infants and toddlers and continue to develop vaccines which will cover infants for the leading strains of meningococcal meningitis including group B not currently covered in the U.S. Infants account for approximately 30% of meningococcal cases in the U.S. "

Most Texas universities either require the vaccine or educate freshmen and require them to sign a wavier of refusal. Milley commends Senator Davis for writing a bill requiring college freshmen living in dorms to be vaccinated. However she said the bill, while great, will exclude 70+% of the college freshmen who are at high risk for meningitis. There are many who attend junior colleges and live off campus. Many who have contracted the disease and even died with it. This includes Milley's son who just two months after his death would have started college but would not have lived on campus. This bill should include ALL college freshmen.

Angels will host a booth of awareness for WMD, April 25, at the Texas Crawfish Festival in Old Town Spring, an international candle lighting service for all those whose lives taken by meningitis, and they distributed flower seed packets around the world of Forget-me-Nots to remind everyone -- kids are still dying or seriously debilitated from a vaccine preventable disease.

For more information on meningitis or how to participate in WMD, visit www.meningitis-angels.org.


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SOURCE Meningitis Angels
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