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National Call-to-Action to Boost Meningitis Vaccination Rates Supported by Leading Health Organizations, Urges St. Louis Parents to Vaccinate Preteens and Teens
Date:8/9/2012

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Missouri Association of School Nurses (MASN) has joined more than 30 state and national health organizations across the country in support of the Voices of Meningitis "Boost Our Rates!" initiative, to help educate parents about the importance of meningococcal vaccination for their preteens and teens. With half of Missouri teens currently unvaccinated against meningococcal infection, which can cause meningitis, MASN is bringing "Boost Our Rates!" to St. Louis this back-to-school season.

Along with school nurses, the Gateway Immunization Coalition, Saint Louis County Department of Health and people who have been affected by meningitis are all calling on parents to get their preteen and teen children vaccinated.  Public health officials recommend vaccination for preteens and teens starting at age 11 or 12 years, with a booster dose by 18 years of age to help protect them during the years when they are at greatest risk of infection. 

"I learned about meningitis the worst way possible," said Georgia State Representative Amy Carter, who is helping spread the word about meningitis prevention around the country. "My brother Bubba died from meningitis while he was in high school, and I miss him every day. By sharing my story, I hope that parents will help protect their children from this devastating disease by getting them vaccinated."

Vaccination is the most effective way to help prevent meningococcal meningitis, which may be rare but can kill an otherwise healthy child in just a single day.  Back-to-school time is an especially important opportunity for parents to get their children vaccinated, as many activities that go hand-in-hand with preteens and teens returning to school, such as sharing drinking glasses and water bottles, kissing and being in close proximity for long periods of time, can increase their risk for contracting meningitis. 

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SOURCE Missouri Association of School Nurses
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