Meningitis Angels (MA) commemorate the 4th annual World Meningitis Day. The national group will host an international candle lighting ceremony to take place at 5 P.M. around the world. Frankie Milley, founder and national executive director ask that all who have been affected or lost someone to bacterial meningitis light a candle and let it burn.
Houston Texas – “I will be lighting mine in memory of my only child Ryan who died from meningococcal disease and all the Meningitis Angels. If we do this around the world there should be a candle burning somewhere for the next 24 hours,” Milley said.
Meningococcal disease is a sudden aggressive illness that can lead to death within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms. Survivors may suffer permanent brain damage, learning disabilities, vision and hearing loss, organ damage and limb loss.
“Before vaccinations, thousands of infants and toddlers died or were left debilitated from Hib and Pneumococcal meningitis. Thanks to vaccines, these are almost eradicated in the US. However tweens and teens are still among the highest risk for meningococcal disease and the hardest to reach for health care and vaccinations. So awareness and vaccination programs such as those in Kansas are imperative,” Milley said.
MA announced today the launch of a national contest that would have tweens and teens ages 10-18 submit a photo of themselves getting their meningitis shot. Those ages 10-17 must have a parent’s permission to enter. A complete set of rules for entry may be found at http://www.meningitis-angels.org/meningitis-angels-vaccination-poster-contest.html “We hope this contest will increase the meningococcal vaccination rate which is only about 50% nationwide,” said Milley.
The nationwide events kicked off last week in Topeka Kansas. A state resolution declaring April 16-20, Kansas Meningitis Awareness Week and recognizing World Meningitis Day was presented to Meningitis Angels, on the capitol steps, by Kansas Senator Vicki Schmidt. Partners for awareness events throughout the week included the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Immunization Program (KDHEIP), multiple county health departments, Dillion Pharmacies, school districts, the Topeka Cruzline, health care providers and others. This was also a very important week for the prevention of vaccine-preventable disease in infants. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) chose this week for National Infant Immunization Week.
Milley will close out the week April 26, as a speaker at the Vaccines For Children (VFC) Bi-national Conference in South Texas. This event is hosted by the Hidalgo County Health Department and will host speakers from the CDC, Mexico and the Texas Health Department.
“We must do everything to prevent this deadly disease in the age groups where it is preventable. It is the right thing to do. No infant, child or adult should die or be left debilitated from a vaccine-preventable disease, especially one as deadly as meningitis,” concluded Milley.
For more information on meningitis prevention or to contact MA visit, www.meningitis-angels.org or http://www.CDC.gov