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School Nurses in San Diego Tackle Low Meningitis Vaccination Rates
Date:8/17/2010

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency have joined the Voices of Meningitis campaign to urge parents to vaccinate preteens and teens in San Diego against meningococcal disease, a rare but serious bacterial infection that can cause meningitis and take the life of a child in just a single day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading medical groups recommend vaccination for preteens and teens 11 through 18 years of age, and college freshmen living in dormitories.  Yet despite these public health recommendations, only 48 percent of adolescents 13 through 17 years of age have been immunized in California, which is far below the CDC's goal of a 90 percent vaccination rate in 2010.

"School nurses are on the front lines with students every day, and our mission is to keep our students safe and healthy," said Dale Parent, Special Projects Nurse at San Diego Unified School District and past-president of the CSNO.  "School nurses in San Diego have joined Voices of Meningitis to help raise awareness and encourage parents to speak to their child's school nurse or health-care provider about meningococcal vaccination before coming back to school."

Many local community leaders, including the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, are partnering with CSNO's Voices of Meningitis campaign to reinforce that vaccination is the best protection available against the disease.

They also are joined by Jonathan Deguzman who contracted meningococcal meningitis as a college student and lost his fingers and both of his feet to the disease.

"I've joined as a 'voice' of meningitis to share my personal story with the community and encourage local parents, preteens, and teens to learn about the dangers of meningococcal meningitis and how to help prevent the disease," said Deguzman.<
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SOURCE National Association of School Nurses
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