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Colorado Association of School Nurses Unites Denver Community to Combat Low Meningitis Vaccination Rates Among Preteens and Teens
Date:8/15/2011

DENVER, Aug. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State University and Sierra's Race Against Meningitis joined the Colorado Association of School Nurses (CASN) today in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Fort Collins meningitis outbreak, to urge local parents to vaccinate their preteen and teenage children against meningococcal disease this back-to-school season.  

A recent national public health survey shows that only approximately 54 percent of adolescents nationally, and in Colorado, have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease, which is well below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' goal of 80 percent vaccination coverage for this age group.  

Meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, may be rare, but it's often devastating and can take the life of an otherwise healthy child in just a single day.  Preteens and teens are at greater risk for meningitis than other age groups, and are recommended for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) beginning at age 11, with a booster dose by 18 years of age.

These local community organizations are lending their support to the National Association of School Nurses' (NASN) Voices of Meningitis campaign, an initiative in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, in an effort to increase meningitis vaccination rates among preteens and teens in Denver.  

"No child should lose their life or suffer devastating consequences as a result of a vaccine-preventable disease like meningitis," said Christopher Urbina, MD, MPH, executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "That's why we strongly encourage parents to get their preteens and teens vaccinated – it is a safe and effective way to help prevent this serious disease."

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SOURCE Colorado Association of School Nurses
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