Meningitis vaccinations will be provided and people who have been affected by the infection will speak at a Thursday, Oct. 30 community forum hosted by The University of Findlay and sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite, R-Findlay.
From 7-9 p.m. in the University’s Alumni Memorial Union attendees will be able to receive vaccinations with a valid insurance card. From 7-8 p.m., speakers will include Valley View resident Cindy Krejny, whose daughter, Erin, died of meningitis in 1997; Dr. Deepa Mukundan from the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Toledo, who will talk about infectious diseases and preventable measures; Jamie Schanbaum, a meningitis survivor from Texas who has been debilitated from the disease; Hite, who will discuss Tess’ Law, named after his niece who died from the infection; and Lindsay Davis who will address Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy awareness, another ailment which affects many.
A moderated advocacy panel featuring Hite, Davis, Krejny and Schanbaum will be held at 8 p.m.
Hite’s legislative efforts have resulted in March 9 being recognized as Meningitis Awareness Day Ohio, but lawmakers may consider vaccination measures to help prevent the potentially deadly infection’s prevalence, his office told the Immunization Advocacy Network of Ohio last week when promoting the upcoming UF event.
“Current state law requires students in on-campus housing at public universities to tell administrators whether they have been vaccinated for meningitis. There is currently no legal mandate in Ohio that college students be vaccinated, though some other states have taken that step,” Hite wrote in a column printed Sept. 11 in the Logan Daily News.
The Mayo Clinic’s website explains it is easy to mistake some meningitis symptoms for those usually associated with influenza. Symptoms may include a high fever that develops quickly, vomiting or nausea with headache, light sensitivity and a stiff neck.
College freshmen living in dorms are at increased risk.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It also causes blood infections. Between 1,000 and 1,200 people contract the disease annually in the U.S., and even when treated with antibiotics, as many as 15 percent die. Of survivors, between 11 and 19 percent lose their arms or legs, have nervous systems problems, become deaf or mentally disabled, or suffer seizures or strokes.
The disease is most common in infants and people ages 16-21.
Viral meningitis may improve without treatment, but the bacterial form is serious and requires prompt antibacterial treatment.
Two meningitis vaccine doses are recommended for those ages 11 through 18. The first dose should be taken at 11 or 12 years of age, with a booster dose at age 16, the CDC states.
For more meningitis vaccine information, visit http://tinyurl.com/plfw4j6
For information on the disease itself, visit http://tinyurl.com/oykfjud and http://www.meningitis.org.