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!
24 Feb 2015
Letter: Bravo to Harold Jennings for life-saving research
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24 Feb 2015
Vaccinate your children or forget Government rebate for daycare.
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11 Feb 2015
Pool owners warned of disease risk
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3 Feb 2015
Roald Dahl's personal tragedy is your vaccination wake-up call
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Congratulations to National Research Council Distinguished Researcher (2005) Harold Jennings on being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada at Rideau Hall on Feb. 13 for his development of a successful vaccine for Group C meningitis.
Harry had been attracted from the U.K. to do graduate work at Queen’s University following the appointment there (1954) of Dr. J.K.N. Jones, a noted polysaccharide chemist, as the Chown Research Professor in Chemistry. Jennings obtained his MSc ’61 and PhD ’66, and received the Queen’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2008.
Bravo to Jennings for lamenting the constraints to NRC scientists that have been imposed over recent years, and kudos to Citizen reporter Blair Crawford for posing his searching questions. Jennings‘ past work as an independent scientist, free to choose his objectives, illustrates well the role of serendipity, the act of chance discovery being favoured by a prepared mind. He had the intuition to try linking C meningitis polysaccharides to the existing tetanus toxoid, whose isolation and chemistry had been achieved from the 1960s, thereby illustrating also the cumulative nature of scientific discovery. How gratifying it must have been to Jennings to have his vaccine first tested in 1999 against an outbreak of C meningitis among hundreds of British children, and to learn that it worked!
After graduate work at Queen’s, Harry first joined the Food and Drug Laboratories of Health Canada as a research chemist in the Food Directorate. Within a few months, he departed that stifling atmosphere and administration (its loss) and joined the Institute for Biological Sciences at NRC. Scientific endeavour in governmental laboratories has been regimented and directed to narrow ends over the decades since the first cuts to NRC following the 1970 first Lamontagne Report.
George A. Neville, PhD (1966, Queen’s), Retired Research Chemist, Bureau of Drug Research, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada
SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen
PARENTS who refuse to vaccinate their children must be stripped of childcare payments unless their care is quarantined to the family home.
The Productivity Commission’s report into childcare has adopted a tough line on vaccination on the basis that all parents must play a collective role in protecting children from preventable diseases.
Mirroring The Sunday Telegraph’s successful No Jab, No Play campaign that has forced all governments to act, the report warns access to childcare rebates “must be conditional on the child being fully immunised, unless care occurs in the child’s home”.
The message is stronger than current arrangements that offer a range of exemptions for vaccine refusers who argue they are conscientious objectors.
In NSW, childcare centres can ban children who are not vaccinated and other states are considering similar reforms. Parents are required to vaccinate children as a condition of the childcare benefit but can seek exemptions as conscientious objectors or “vaccine refusers” if a GP signs a form to show the parents are aware of the risks.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said he was happy to consider any calls to toughen current protections.
“The commission makes some very important suggestions in this area. I am open to everything in the report. I am not ruling anything in or out”
“The commission makes some very important suggestions in this area. I am open to everything in the report. I am not ruling anything in or out,” Mr Morrison said. “There have been positive outcomes from those types of linkages. There’s nothing to suggest that what has been done in the past wouldn’t be continued.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten went further, backing the commission’s call for action as a commonsense measure.
“Kids deserve to grow up safe and healthy. I’m not comfortable with the idea of subsidising people who put kids’ health at risk,” he said.
“Childcare support should go to people who are doing the right thing by their child and the children they play with. Families who do the right thing by immunising their child shouldn’t have to worry about whether their child is going to pick up a preventable illness at their childcare centre.
“This shouldn’t be a political issue, it’s common sense.”
Mr Morrison has called for a bipartisan approach on childcare, encouraging Labor to sit down with the government to reach agreement in the Senate and help Australian families with rising care costs.
Mr Shorten said the four conditions that would guide Labor on childcare were improving affordability, accessibility, quality and participation.
“If there’s a good idea we’ll sign up to it, but we’ll fight any unfair cuts to childcare support,’’ Mr Shorten said.
“The Liberals have made plenty of mistakes when it comes to childcare, but if they are finally serious about doing something positive on this, then we’re prepared to work with them. The first thing that Tony Abbott can do is reverse his billion-dollar cut to childcare in the last Budget and the $6000 families around Australia were slugged — that’s the equivalent of three months’ worth of childcare.”
As the weather warms up, pool and spa owners are being warned to take precautions to avoid potentially fatal disease risks.
Environmental Health Acting Director, Richard Theobald said it was important pool owners ensured their water was properly treated and maintained to avoid the risk of swimmers catching amoebic meningitis.
He said the rare but potentially fatal disease could be contracted when recreational water contaminated, with the amoeba bug, entered the nose.
“Amoeba thrives in warm water temperatures between 28 degrees and 40 degrees,” Mr Theobald said.
“Pool and spa owners should closely monitor and check chlorine levels are within a safe range.
“Wading pools should be changed after each use as this water provides the perfect environment for the amoeba to grow.
“Owners using pool covers may also need to check their water more frequently as the covers may cause water temperatures to rise more quickly.”
Mr Theobald said the risk of amoebic meningitis could be reduced by taking some simple precautions including:
Information about amoebic meningitis is available through local government environmental health officers, WA Health’s Environmental Health Service on 9388 4999, and on the Healthy WA website (external site).
SOURCE: Dept of Health WA
A childhood without Roald Dahl books, is no childhood at all’ … I’m pretty sure I just made that up, but it’s so true. Roald Dahl dedicated decades of his life to writing imaginative and inspiring stories for children. There were 19 magificent books in total, and even though he passed away in 1990, his legacy lives on. His books are as popular today as they’ve ever been, and his stories resonate with kids all over the world.
But the master storyteller not only left us with inspiring works of fiction, he also left us with an important piece of non-fiction. Something very real and rooted in fact.
In 1988 Roald Dahl penned a heartfelt letter to parents - pleading them to vaccinate their children, begging them to take the necessary action to keep their kids safe from harmful diseases. Something he wishes he could have done for his own daughter, Oliva, who tragically succumbed to a bout of measles in 1962 and died in her bed, aged seven years old.
Here’s the full letter, which was originally published in by the Sandwell Health Authority in the United Kingdom:
Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.
“I feel all sleepy,” she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.
On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.
It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.
Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.
LET THAT SINK IN.
Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.
So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?
They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.
So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.
The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.
Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.
If you needed another reason to love Roald Dahl, you now have one. He wrote this poignant letter more than 25 years ago, and it’s still as relevant as ever, as meaningful as ever, and as loud as ever. It’s just that some people don’t listen.
Every so often, this letter rears it’s head again because there’s been yet another outbreak of a preventable disease somewhere in the western world, where vaccines are readily available. Just this month, there was an outbreak of measles that started at Disneyland, California, and is still spreading rapidly across borders. All because a parent somewhere refused to vaccinate their child.
The facts are irrefutable. If you don’t vaccinate your kids, you are risking their lives. And putting others at risk too. What will it take for the anti-vaxxers to finally get it? I shudder to think.
By Jo Harris
Designed for healthcare and medical professionals to share their knowledge, strategies and experience, the 5th Asian Vaccine Conference (ASVAC 2015), is taking place in Vietnam from 11 to 14 June 2015.