The Meningitis Centre of Australia is part of the Telethon Kids Institute and is striving to eliminate meningitis in Australia by lobbying for vaccines and educating the community to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The Centre also provides support for families affected by the disease.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid and membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
There are three main types of meningitis infection
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS!!!!
In August 2013 Australia became the first country in the world to approve the meningococcal B vaccine for widespread use. However while it is available via prescription through a doctor is is still too expensive for most people. The Meningitis Centre Australia is continuing to lobby the federal government to put it on the National Immunisation Program so that it is FREE for everybody.
Please sign our petition for the Federal Government to allocate funding for this life saving vaccine!
In 2013, 105 people were treated for Meningococcal B in Australia. If not treated promptly it can lead to permanent disability or death in 24 hours. EVERY SECOND COUNTS!
21 Oct 2014
Student in the U.S. dies of Men B which is not covered by vaccines.
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20 Oct 2014
US Meningitis patient on life support
read more >
15 Oct 2014
Meningitis Survivor Supports Vaccine Approval in the U.S.
read more >
SAN DIEGO – Days after a San Diego State University student died from meningococcal bacteria, county health officials said she had a strain not affected by vaccinations.
San Diego County Health and Human Services officials said 18-year-old Sara Stelzer had serogroup B, which is not covered by the vaccinations.
Stelzer was a freshman at SDSU and began experiencing flu-like symptoms on Sunday, October 12. She was admitted to a hospital last Tuesday and on Friday morning campus officials confirmed she had died, though remained on life support for one more day.
According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the current vaccine used in the United States blocks some, but not all strains of meningococcal bacteria – including serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. Vaccines used in Europe, Canada and Australia defend against serogroup B.
An SDSU spokeswoman said nearly 1,000 students visited Student Health Services for evaluations and preventative antibiotics over the weekend. Some students who had symptoms were found to be OK, according to the school.
The antibiotic that has been provided over the past week does provide short-term protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease, according to county health officials.
The school’s health clinic will continue to see student patients as needed, according to SDSU.
The university contacted students who may have been in close contact with Stelzer, among them members of the Kappa Delta sorority and two fraternities where she attended parties on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 — Alpha Epsilon Pi and Delta Sigma Phi.
Students with questions can contact Student Health Services at 619-594-4325 and press 2 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays, go online to shs.sdsu.edu, or contact their personal healthcare provider.
The county Health and Human Services Agency said bacteria can be spread through close contact, such as sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, cigarettes or pipes, or water bottles; kissing; and living in close quarters. The time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms can be between two and 10 days.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, a stiff neck and/or a rash that does not blanch under pressure. Anyone with potential exposure who develops any of those symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare provider or emergency room for an evaluation for possible meningococcal disease, health officials said.
Dr. Gregg Lichtenstein, the Student Health Services director, said people with such symptoms should immediately go to a hospital emergency room for treatment, not a student health clinic or a personal physician.
The HHSA said six cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in San Diego County this year, including a Patrick Henry High School student who died in February. On average, 10 cases have been reported annually over the past five years in the region.
A vaccine is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease and is routinely recommended for children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age, including a booster for those entering college if they received their last dose prior to age 15.
Health officials said if a second case of meningococcal disease is reported within six months, they may request the non-licensed vaccine from the CDC.
SOURCE: Fox 5 San Diego
The 18-year-old San Diego State University student who university officials said died on Friday from meningococcal meningitis remains on life support, county medical officials said.
Sara Stelzer, a freshman and member of the Kappa Delta sorority, was admitted to a hospital Tuesday morning after contracting the bacterial infection and exhibiting flu-like symptoms before falling gravely ill.
County medical officials shortly before 5 p.m. Friday confirmed that Stelzer was still on life support. University officials, who have been in close communication with the Stelzer family, acknowledged that their statement released Friday morning announcing the student's death was premature.
"The university has been supporting and is in ongoing communication with Sara's family to monitor her condition. The family informed us (Thursday night) that they had decided to say farewell to their daughter and they gave us permission to put out a statement this morning to that end," SDSU spokesman Greg Block said in a statement released around 5 p.m. Friday. "There was a possibility that Sara would be kept on life support for a short time while the hospital looked for recipients of some of her vital organs. Our message this morning was acting in accordance with the family's wishes to offer condolences to our university community and provide information to our grieving students."
Eric Rivera, SDSU's Vice President for Student Affairs, had earlier said the university will continue to support Sara's family.
"After speaking with her family, we know that Sara was a vibrant young woman who loved San Diego State, her friends and the time she spent at our university," he said in the morning statement. "We will do all we can to support Sara's family and our campus community during this difficult time."
The revelation from the county medical office followed an emotional few days on campus.
Stelzer was a first-time freshman who was studying pre-communications. She graduated from Moorpark High School in Ventura County in June.
Conejo Family YMCA shared this and other photos of Sara Stelzer on Facebook Thursday night, memorializing her as "an amazing young woman."
Hundreds of students have heeded the warnings issued by the campus earlier this week about their potential exposure to the bacteria.
"They've had at least 400 students sign up to come in and get their antibiotics," Block said.
Officials said Stelzer may have exposed others with close contact any time between Oct. 5 and Oct. 14.
Students – a few of them wearing medical masks - streamed to the campus health center early Friday. Many attended fraternity parties with Stelzer. Others said they were being “cautious” and “paranoid.”
“It’s just very surreal. It’s very odd,” said Haley Lu, a freshman who waited in line for antibiotics. She last saw Stelzer on Monday when they worked together on a speech about Australia’s Aboriginal culture for a communications class.
“I saw her Monday. She wasn’t in class on Tuesday. And then…”
Lu described Stelzer as “quiet, hardworking and very sweet.”
Medical officials have said it takes close contact with someone to contract meningitis. That’s exactly what students said happens routinely at fraternity parties – sharing drinks, cigarettes and up-close and personal conversations.
“People share glasses all the time, especially shot glasses,” said Sydney Mussman, a sophomore who waited in line to get antibiotics Friday. “Parties are loud, so you talk close. That’s just what happens. That’s why everyone I know got strep last year.”
Rivera said that students also have been offering emergency counseling through SDSU Counseling and Psychological Services to cope with the severity of the situation.
"We know our students will come together to support one another but also want them to know that counseling services are available... Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Sara's family and friends," Rivera said.
SOURCE: U-T San Diego
Photo: Andy Marso at a book signing at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Mission, Kansas
Nothing could have prepared the then-22-year-old senior at the University of Kansas, just three weeks from graduating, for how his life would change April 28, 2004. Nothing.
On that spring morning, Marso awoke feeling a bit under the weather. The only thing that hinted at the devastation that would soon rock his world was an odd purple rash on his arms, which he ignored. The rash, really bruises from blood leaking from pierced vessels, was the first visible symptom of the rare but deadly bacterial meningitis, a disease that kills 20 percent of its victims.
Soon, Marso was so weak he could not get out of bed. A friend realized that Marso’s rash and flu-like symptoms needed medical attention and insisted he go to the student health facilities. By then, Marso was so weak that he could not walk. Two friends wrapped his arms over their shoulders and nearly carried him to the clinic.
Upon Marso’s arrival, the health facility doctor, Leah Luckeroth, MD, recognized the symptoms of bacterial meningitis and called for an ambulance to transport him to the hospital. Meanwhile, the University of Kansas acted quickly to prevent an outbreak, making sure anyone who had contact with Marso received preventive antibiotics.
“Overnight, I went from a healthy college student to [a patient in] intensive care, on a ventilator, with lungs failing, fighting for my life,” Marso recounts.
Soon, he was in a medically induced coma that would last three weeks. Doctors pulled no punches about the severity of his illness and told his family they did not expect him to survive. At the very least, he would likely lose parts of all four limbs.
When Marso emerged from his coma, family, friends and medical staff all said what a miracle it was that he made it. The gravity of the situation tempered his own joy as he realized that something was wrong with his arms and legs.
“When the bandages were removed, I saw that my limbs were nearly black, and more or less rotting while still attached to my body,” he recalls. “Nothing can describe how disturbing that is.”
Ultimately, Marso lost all his fingers except his right thumb, and parts of both feet. He spent four months in the hospital and nine months in rehabilitation, enduring painful therapies to save as much of his limbs as possible.
The treatments were grueling, painful and nightmarish, with the emotional recovery just as difficult as the physical rehabilitation.
After going through the stages of grief, coupled with the pain of recovery, Marso became introspective and committed to letting this experience make his life better.
Marso on his trip to Brazil in 2008
“Everything was divided into life before and life after,” he says. “I was determined to make my life after as great as, if not better than, my life before.”
Marso has stayed true to the course, living a life marked by patience, humor, sensitivity and advocacy. Today, the journalist makes regular speaking appearances, advocating for the approval of the European meningitis vaccine, Bexsero.
“I have two focal messages today,” he says. “The first is that we need to get approval for the vaccine, and then we should push for widespread vaccination. It is approved in Australia, Europe and Canada, but not yet … in the United States.”
Bexsero was recently used in response to a deadly outbreak at Princeton University, when the drug received a waiver for that specific occurrence.
“Clearly, the FDA feels it is safe and effective or they would not administer it to the students,” Marso says. “If it is safe enough for Princeton students, why is it not safe for the rest of the population?”
Marso encourages everyone, especially students who are most vulnerable because of their close living and eating quarters, to push for the vaccine’s approval.
“My second message is more personal,” he says. “It is that you can do anything that you want to do, no matter what hardships come your way. Your life can be all that you want it to be, and more.”
Today Marso, whose life is marked by joy and triumph, shares his experience in his book, which encourages everyone to dig deep, be vulnerable, be patient and take chances.
Some difficult experiences are worth the pain, he says.
SOURCE: MD News
This year’s 2014/2015 Gold Entertainment Book has arrived in a paperback book or in a digital format for your Apple or Android phones.