Meningitis organisations worldwide are calling for better awareness of meningitis symptoms and vaccination to help protect children those most at risk. There can be few if any diseases that terrifyÂ parents more than meningitis, because of it sudden onset, its flu-like symptoms and potentially deadly nature.Â It is one of the worst infectious diseases a child or adult can catch because it can cause damage in many ways.
World Meningitis Day, happens on Sunday 24 April, 2011, and is dedicated to raising disease awareness, underscoring the importance of prevention through vaccination and improving support for those dealing with the potentially devastating consequences of the disease.
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) invites people to visitÂ www.comoonline.org and become a member of the global family by “joining hands” in the fight against meningitis, and to show support for meningitis awareness and prevention.
Meningitis is a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which can be the result of infection by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe type, and it is a medical emergency. It can strike quickly, be difficult to diagnose, and can lead to death in a matter of hours. In addition, a potentially life-threatening blood poisoning called septicaemia may be associated with the disease.
Those surviving bacterial meningitis or septicaemia can have their lives devastated as a result of after-effects, such as deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, and, with septicaemia, limb loss. Meningitis impacts people of all ages, but infants, children and adolescents are particularly at risk of infection.
Vaccines are now available to protect against many of the bacteria which cause meningitis and septicaemia.
“No one should ever have to see their child, sibling, friend or classmate suffer or die from a disease that is vaccine-preventable,” said Bruce Langoulant, president and member of the Governing Council of CoMO, and father of a meningitis survivor.
“On World Meningitis Day, we must educate people about meningitis and urge them to protect themselves, their families and their community against meningitis. Talk to your doctor to find out what you can do to defend yourself and your loved ones from this devastating disease.”
This year, to raise awareness of meningitis and bring a face to the disease that knows no borders, CoMO is launching a podcast on meningococcal disease, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis. The podcast, created with the support of Novartis Vaccines, features experts, survivors and parents from around the world whose lives have been touched by the disease. The podcast is available on the CoMO website (www.comoonline.org), as well asÂ Facebook andÂ YouTube.
Picture credit: Supplied, PRNewswire.