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!
17 Nov 2014
How Bridie Kean overcame the effects of meningococcal disease as a baby and became a top wheelchair
read more >
12 Nov 2014
Child critical with meningococcal in New South Wales
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3 Nov 2014
FDA approves new vaccine for meningitis B in the USA
read more >
The 5th Asian Vaccine Conference (ASVAC 2015), is taking place in Vietnam from 11 to 14 June 2015. It's designed for healthcare and medical professionals to share their knowledge, strategies and experience to tackle the challenge of introducing new vaccines and scaling up existing vaccines in National Immunisation Programmes. Themed “Introducing More Vaccines and Reaching Everyone”.
ASVAC 2015 will feature important presentations by a wide range of expert speakers and opinion leaders from around the world with the common objective of engaging stakeholders to expand and improve immunization coverage in the region.
For more information please visit www.asvac2015.com.
Top wheelchair basketball athlete Bridie Kean.
THE sound of the ticking clock became as unbearable for Bridie Kean’s family as the screams of terror when the long needle pierced deep into the two-year-old’s spine.
Bridie had hardly lived and now, covered with a rash, she was close to dying.
Her family huddled together under the clock in a room beside the intensive care unit in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and for 12 hours waited for a miracle, summoning every ounce of hope they could that the tiny infant would survive the infection raging inside her.
A needle was inserted between two of her vertebrae to extract spinal fluid. Bridie had meningococcal disease and her parents, Des and Mary, knew she had only a one in five chance of pulling through.
“It was the longest night of our lives,’’ Mary said. “At the time Bridie had an older sister and a baby brother who was just 16 weeks old. We waited together all through the night while the doctors went to work.’’
Bridie has no memory of those excruciating hours when her parents waited to see if she would live or die. Her father says a nurse finally came into the waiting room to say the worst had passed but it was only a few days later that Bridie’s feet were amputated to stop septicaemia killing her.
Now, 25 years later, and as cheerful as the sunny afternoon, Bridie is striding toward the weights room at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she is training for her third Paralympic Games as a wheelchair basketballer.
She won a silver medal as captain of the Gliders at London 2012 and in Rio hopes to match the gold her boyfriend Chris Bond, of the Australian Paralympic rugby “Murderball’’ team, collected two years ago.
Bridie is walking on prosthetic limbs, but in a wheelchair she can almost fly.
Although she missed much of her formal school years to hospital stays, undergoing 27 operations between the ages of two and 15, the 27-year-old now she has a Bachelor of Science degree, a Masters in Public Health and is doing her PhD in health promotion, focusing on how providing educational pathways for Paralympic athletes can improve opportunities for them later in life.
“That’s certainly been true for me,’’ she said. “I started playing basketball on prosthetic limbs with my local school team. I was so competitive but my legs just weren’t a match for my ambition.
“I had three procedures to extend my bones and it required a metal frame with needles going through my legs. Between the ages of eight to 12 I couldn’t walk for a long time.
“My parents experienced tough times and a lot of stress watching me go through all of that.
“There were periods when I’d say to Mum ‘why is everyone else normal and I’m the one going through this?’ It wasn’t until later in life I realised how fortunate I was.’’
Des Kean, a former rover with Brisbane’s Morningside Aussie rules team, spent so much time taking Bridie to hospital that he eventually chucked in his job as a salesman in the electric industry to become a paramedic for Ambulance Victoria.
“I got to know the work of paramedics back to front,’’ he said.
“It was awful seeing all the operations Bridie endured. You had to have a thick skin, hold her hand and let her go through it because it was the only way to help her.
“But from the time she was a little girl she always had a very positive outlook.’’
Just into her teenage years in 2000, Bridie was a spectator at the Sydney Paralympics with a support group called Limbkids.
She was watching the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team, the Rollers, when another spectator, women’s team member, Liesl Tesch came over to sign the kids’ prosthetics.
Bridie Kean in action for Australia v Mexico at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Bridie went home to Melbourne with an autographed foot and words of encouragement.
“I couldn’t believe how strong and powerful and athletic the women players were,’’ Bridie said. “When I discovered basketball in a wheelchair I suddenly had limitless potential.’’
She spent her first year pushing her wheelchair up and down the driveway at home in Melbourne. Before long she was wheeling herself to the shops and to school, all the time trying to become one with the contraption.
Australian women’s team coach Tom Kyle says Bridie is one of the top three athletes in the world in her sport and trains harder than any elite athlete he has known.
Three days a week she leaves her Sunshine Coast home at Cotton Tree for a 130km drive to train with him at the Queensland Academy of Sport in Nathan but is not complaining, saying that watching the sun come up every morning as she heads down the highway is a great start to the day.
The discipline and hard work of sport helped her complete her bachelor’s degree while on a wheelchair basketball scholarship at the University of Illinois and she earned her masters at the University of Queensland.
“She has so much energy and determination,’’ her mother said. “After high school Bridie went to the UK for a gap year and worked in a home for mentally and physically disabled people. She was a caregiver there for eight months.
“It’s been an amazing journey for her from hospital to the Paralympics but she is an amazing young woman.’’
Each year, her high school in Melbourne, Kilbreda College, offers the Bridie Kean Award for the Year 8 student who best demonstrates her spirit of determination.
Bridie’s immediate goal is to help the Gliders qualify for the Rio Olympics after the side finished sixth at the world championships in Toronto in June.
Last week she visited two-year-old Finn Smith, another victim of meningococcal disease on the Sunshine Coast, and told his mother that despite life’s bumpy start anything is possible for him.
Finn has similar amputations to Bridie’s boyfriend, who lost both legs below his knees, his left wrist and four fingers on the right hand after suffering an infection while being treated for leukaemia at 19. Nothing can hold him back and the gold medallist is currently playing wheelchair basketball in Texas.
For Bridie sport is not just about her pathway: “It’s about showing the way for others,’’ she said.
“Kids with disabilities who watch our games still have tough years ahead with school and the ups and downs of life.
“Hopefully sport will be as amazing for them as it was for me.
“Sport helped me get through some tough times and to focus not on my limitations but on my potential.’’
SOURCE: Herald Sun
A CHILD with meningococcal is in a critical condition in the Hunter in New South Wales.
It is the ninth confirmed case of meningococcal for 2014, but Hunter New England Health says there are no links between this case and any previous cases.
Close contacts of the patient are being prescribed clearance antibiotics.
Most patients with invasive meningococcal disease in Australia survive, but up to ten per cent die as a result of the infection.
The first symptoms of meningococcal disease may include pain in the legs, cold hands and feet and abnormal skin colour.
Later symptoms may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights, nausea and vomiting, a rash of reddish-purple spots or bruises and drowsiness.
Babies with the infection can be irritable, not feed properly and have an abnormal cry.
‘Public Health Physician Dr Tony Merritt said seeking medical attention quickly may prevent the development of serious complications.
"Meningococcal infection does not spread easily,’’ Dr Merritt said.
‘‘It is spread by secretions from the nose and throat of a person who is carrying it and close and prolonged contact is needed to pass it on. It does not appear to be spread through saliva or by sharing drinks, food or cigarettes.
"Meningococcal disease may be very severe and the community needs to be on the alert for its symptoms. If anyone suspects meningococcal disease, they should seek medical attention immediately.’’
There were 11 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in the Hunter New England Local Health District in 2013, 9 confirmed cases in 2012, 15 in 2011 and 13 in 2010.
SOURCE: The Herald
The Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of Trumenba, the first vaccine licensed in the United States to prevent invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B.
The Food and Drug Administration today gave accelerated approval to a new meningitis vaccine that targets the strain of the bacteria that caused outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California-Santa Barbara last year.
Many colleges require or recommend that new students be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. The bacteria causes meningitis, the sometimes life-threatening inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, and dangerous bloodstream infections. The disease can spread quickly in shared living areas such as dormitories and military barracks.
Until today, vaccines targeted only four of the five major kinds of meningococcal bacteria -- types A, C, Y and W. The new vaccine, called Trumenba, protects against type B.
Princeton and the University of California-Santa Barbara responded to the outbreaks last year by getting special permission from the FDA to use a meningitis vaccine that had been approved in Europe but not the USA.
Twelve people developed meningitis during those outbreaks and one, a lacrosse player at Santa Barbara, had his feet amputated because of the infection. The bacteria can cause blood clots in small blood vessels, such as those in the hands, feet and ears, cutting off the blood supply and causing gangrene, said William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
Although meningococcal disease is relatively rare, it can have devastating effects, killing healthy adolescents and young adults overnight, Schaffner said. There were 500 cases of meningococcal disease in the USA in 2012, including 160 infections with type B, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"These are very poignant cases, because they are beautiful young people -- adolescents and young adults -- who may be left with disability for the rest of their lives," Schaffner said.
An expert panel is meeting at the CDC this week to discuss how the new vaccine should be used, Schaffner said. Members will vote whether to recommend giving the vaccine only during outbreaks, just to students about to enter college, or to all adolescents routinely. No matter how it's given, getting all young people to be fully vaccinated could be a challenge, Schaffner said. While the older shot is given in two doses, the new one requires three. So young people will have to visit the doctor three times to get a total of five shots.
Trumenba was studied in three large clinical studies in the USA and Europe involving 2,800 adolescents. After three doses of vaccine, 82% had antibodies in their blood against meningococcal disease. Before vaccination, fewer than 1% had the antibodies, according to the FDA.
Researchers also tested the vaccine's safety in 4,500 people in the USA, Europe and Australia. Side effects included a sore arm, headache, diarrhea, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue and chills.
The vaccine is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. of Philadelphia. As a condition of the accelerated approval, which is given to products for life-threatening diseases, Wyeth will have to perform additional tests.
SOURCE: USA Today
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.