Charlotte parents to have their preteen and teenage children
vaccinated against meningococcal disease now that school is back in
session. Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious bacterial
infection that can cause meningitis and take the life of a child in
just a single day.
Public health officials recommend meningococcal vaccination for
preteens and teens; however, a recent Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) survey found that in North Carolina, less than half
of adolescents 13 through 17 years of age have been vaccinated against
the disease. This is far below the CDC's goal of a 90 percent
vaccination rate by the end of 2010.
School nurses in North Carolina have joined the Voices of Meningitis
campaign to reach parents of preteens and teens about the importance
of meningitis vaccination now that school is back in session. Every
health-care visit is an opportunity to discuss meningitis vaccination.
Voices of Meningitis is a public education initiative that brings
together school nurses, parents, survivors of the disease and public
health officials nationwide to share their experiences to help educate
families with preteen and teenage children about prevention. Voices
of Meningitis is a program of the National Association of School
Nurses in collaboration with sanofi pasteur.
Preteens and teens are at greater risk for getting meningitis and are
more likely to die compared with other age groups. Of those who
survive, up to one in five is left with serious medical problems,
including amputation of limbs, brain damage, deafness and other organ
Everyday activities like spending long periods of time in large groups
or sharing water bottles during sports practices can put even healthy
kids at increased risk for the disease.
Vaccination has been available for years and is a safe and effective
way to help protect against meningitis.