Right now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is traveling around the country seeking public input on whether infants two years and younger should be immunized against meningitis — a leading cause of preventable infant death in the U.S. One out of 16 infants who contract the disease will not survive. Among survivors, one in five will suffer seizures, blindness, amputation, paralysis or learning disabilities.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a number of infectious agents including viruses and bacteria. Meningitis that affects baby at 2-3 months old is called Neonatal Meningitis and it can be very serious if there is any delay in treatment; leading to deafness, mental disabilities and death. Although when Meningitis mimics flu-like symptoms it is difficult to know. The common symptoms in Infants are: Fever, Irritability, Poor Eating and Hard to Awaken. In older children there are two types – Viral and Bacterial – Viral comes on quickly, but usually goes away on its own. However, Bacterial is very serious and it comes on very quickly. In both types, the only way to diagnose Meningitis is through a Spinal Tap.
Protect Infants Now is a petition to the CDC to include the meningococcal disease vaccination in routine schedules for children under 2 years of age. Between 1000 – 2600 people contact meningococal disease each year in the U.S., it is the leading cause of Bacterial Meningitis in children 2-18 and even with antibiotic treatment 10-15% of these people die and many others are left affected for life through seizures, disabilities and amputation. It is most common in infants under 1 year and children 16-21, however there is no routine vaccination for children under 2. (Children with certain medical conditions are at higher risks than other children.) Protect Infants Now wants to change that, to protect the lives of our children. It is entirely possible, and we have seen it through the elimination of Small Pox and the shrinking of Polio, Measles, Diphtheria and Hib in the U.S. that a routine vaccination for meningococoal disease could eliminate it forever; saving the lives of our future generations.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central and Meningitis Angels. This campaign was made possible in part through support provided by Novartis Vaccines. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank-you for participating. All opinions in this posting are 100% my own. Some information provided by CDC.gov Meningitis Information Pamphlet and FAQ Sheet.