Federal Election campaigning in Australia is underway and we need the Coalition and Labor to support the Men B vaccine so that it is FREE for all Australians on the National Immunisation Plan. This disease is only one of 10 diseases in the world that can kill within 24 hours if not treated immediately. Those who survive can also end up with long lasting side effects or disability. Help us send a message to Canberra by signing our petition.
Meningitis Centre of Australia Inc 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!!!!
24 May 2016
Price paid too high not to fund vaccines
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21 May 2016
Fiona Wood's world-first experiment to help brave Robbie
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4 Apr 2016
Far Northern parents unaware of Meningococcal B vaccine
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29 Mar 2016
Ferrari’s James Allison loses wife to meningitis
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Meningitis Centre chairman Bruce Langoulant interacts with his daughter Ashleigh Langoulant who has cerebral palsey as a result of pneumococcal disease.
Will we remember why we immunise and will low-case numbers of vaccine-preventable deadly diseases mean they won’t be included in our very successful and funded national immunisation program?
Such is the situation with meningococcal B disease and the vaccine which has been licensed but not funded. Meningococcal B disease is still causing deaths and disabilities to our children under five and adolescents and young adults mainly. The incidence rate is at all-time low numbers, with about 50 cases nationally so far this year.
My interest is anchored by the experience of our middle daughter contracting a life-threatening and debilitating disease in 1989 when she was six months old. The disease was pneumococcal disease and she still suffers from the after effects of pneumococcal meningitis.
Her cerebral palsy, her deafness, her epilepsy, her inability to walk or talk and her significant intellectual disabilities are the lasting results. Unfortunately, there was no vaccine available back then.
We should continue to protect our children, families and communities from vaccine-preventable and life-threatening diseases such as meningococcal B. It is a rapidly developing disease which can kill in 24 hours and has a record for leaving far more of its victims with significant lifelong disabilities.
Forgive me for being hard on this but it appears that the lasting challenges and costs of a person’s disability over decades needs to be better understood so that the power of preventive lifesaving interventions such as vaccines are emotionally and financially better understood by all.
Our community is told repeatedly of the death statistics from diseases and this is important, but the greater numbers and the true burden in both financial, physical and emotional terms is related to the disabilities they cause.
A clear demonstration of this concern in current terms is the Federal Government’s enormous commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Their real concern though is how much it will cost.
My point here is, at what point do we pay? How much and for how long?
In my daughter’s case, we conservatively estimate the cost of servicing her needs will be at least $8 million from now to her 65th birthday, a term of 40 years. She is unable to care for herself nor work in any capacity. She lives with us. Her accommodation and past costs are not included.
The role of preventive vaccines and the immense long-term benefits they offer should not be misunderstood. They are an investment in our people.
Since 1992/3 when the hib vaccine was introduced in Australia and in 2003 with the meningococcal C vaccine’s introduction and again with the 7 and 13 valent pneumococcal disease vaccines from 2005, the incidence of these diseases has been dramatically reduced.
Today these are rare diseases as a result of the routine and free access to their vaccines on the National Immunisation Program.
Realistically, Australians are among the best protected from vaccine-preventable diseases on the planet because of our nationally funded program.
We need to realise this and protect this position by including the meningococcal B vaccine as a matter of course.
There are many of us out here who know the other side and there are more to follow if we don’t.
Bruce Langoulant is a parent/carer and the chairman of Meningitis Centre Australia.
SOURCE: The West Australian
A Perth toddler has survived a deadly bacterial infection, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of medical staff to save not just his life but also his limbs.
The parents of two-year-old Robbie Buchan have told of his amazing survival from septicaemia after developing meningococcal disease when he was just five months old.
In a world-first experiment, Perth doctors painstakingly salvaged living tissue from his dying arms and legs, delaying amputation surgery for more than a year to retain as much of his arms and legs as possible.
Desiree Scofield, 23, and her 28-year-old partner Iain Buchan hope their confronting story will educate other parents about the killer disease and help to get a B-strain vaccine funded on the childhood immunisation program.Desiree and Iain share precious family time with Robbie. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian.
They also want to raise money so Robbie can be fitted with state-of-the-art prosthetics that will give him the best possible future.
Their ordeal began in October 2014 after arriving back in Perth from their first family holiday to Queensland.
Robbie, who had never been sick and was a placid baby, was running a temperature during the day, so they called a doctor to their house to check on him.
They were reassured it was unlikely to be anything more sinister than a stomach bug or a cold and told to give him paracetamol and keep an eye on his temperature.
By midnight, the couple tried to get some sleep in between checking on Robbie, whose temperature had gone down but he still seemed unwell.
He was usually dressed in a “onesie” when he was put to bed but something made Ms Scofield change him into two-piece pyjamas and leave on his bedside lamp.
“I came back to check on him and his top had lifted up and in the light I saw three little dots on his back, so we just grabbed him and ran out the door to hospital,” she said.
“Within 10 minutes his back was covered in spots and after another 10 minutes they were over his entire body. He was purple from head to toe.
“The doctors said if I hadn’t gone into his bedroom in the next 30 minutes, we would have woken up to find him gone.” What happened before their eyes was meningococcal disease moving at lightening speed — bacteria multiplying in his blood vessels, creating purple bruises or haemorrhages and releasing toxins into his body.
Princess Margaret Hospital staff swung into action but Robbie’s condition deteriorated as doctors battled to get a catheter line into his swollen body to give him lifesaving antibiotics.
When meningococcal infection develops into septicaemia, patients often go into shock, their blood pressure falls and circulation fails in the body’s extremities such as fingers, toes and limbs.
Robbie’s condition spiralled downwards almost on cue.
A smiling Robbie before the tragedy.
“His fingers and toes started to turn black and his limbs started to die, it was horrible,” Ms Scofield said.
“We had to just watch and wait and were told that if he survived the first 48 hours, he had a 50 per cent chance of pulling through.”
Within days, burns expert Fiona Wood was called in on Robbie’s case but was honest with his devastated parents that there was a good chance he might not survive the next week.
If he managed to pull through, she said it was likely doctors would have to amputate his limbs from the shoulders and hips, effectively leaving him with no limbs.
But Dr Wood was keen to delay surgery for as long as possible.
With 80 per cent of his body covered in necrotic or dead tissue, Robbie endured arduous daily dressings to reduce the risk of infection until it was time for surgery.
Painstakingly, Dr Wood and her team trimmed off dead tissue to retain as much living, growing tissue as possible.Robbie in hospital.
Doctors waited 12 months with Robbie, who was virtually bed-bound at PMH the whole time.
They eventually amputated both his legs from the knees, most of his right arm and his left arm from the elbow.
“People find it hard to believe but we feel so lucky because of what they were able to do for Robbie,” Ms Scofield said.
“We never cared if he lost his arms and legs, so long as we had him.
“We made a pact that if he was strong enough to endure what he did every day for that year, we owed it to him to do our very best for him.
“But we can’t thank the staff at PMH enough, saving as much of his limbs as possible.
“We won’t put limits on what Robbie can achieve now, he will work that out for himself.”
When he is at the local park, Robbie is not that much different from other toddlers, giving a broad smile when his dad lifts him into the air and his mum plays peek-a-boo.
He has some scarring on one side of face from the infection and more on his head.
But a small rash on one cheek is harmless — a sign of teething.Many people comment on his soulful eyes that seem to show a maturity well beyond his two years.
Robbie has survived against great odds and his parents remain positive about his future.
He will need continuing wound management, occupational and speech therapy and physiotherapy at PMH.
The next step will be to investigate the best prosthetics for him, either locally or overseas.
Mr Buchan, manager at the Commonwealth Bank’s Subiaco branch, said his family had received enormous help from his work, family and friends.
But the costs over Robbie’s lifetime will be substantial and a fundraising page has been set up, with all money going directly to his family.
VIDEO Robbie's fight for life
So far more than $34,000 has been donated.
The couple are also campaigning to have a federally funded vaccine for meningococcal B, the strain that caused Robbie’s infection and is responsible for 90 per cent of cases of meningococcal disease in WA.
While a vaccine against meningococcal C strain is part of the national immunisation program, several attempts to have the B vaccine funded since 2014 have failed.
“A lot of parents still don’t even know about meningococcal disease, let alone this vaccine,” Ms Scofield said.
“We don’t want any other family to have to fight the battle Robbie has.”
To make a donation to help Robbie, go towww.everydayhero.com.au/event/RobbiesRoar
SOURCE: The West Australian Newspaper
Pharmacist manager at Cairns discount pharmacy Erin Treston with the Bexsero vaccine, which protects people from Meningococcal strain B. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
PARENTS are largely unaware of a vaccine which protects against a potentially deadly strain of Meningococcal.
The first confirmed case of Meningococcal strain B was recently detected in the Cairns region but Queensland Health authorities are not advising of the age of the patient, who is recovering.
It is the first case of the severe disease in the region since 2014.
Smithfield Medical Centre nurse Barshi Antonio said most parents relied only on vaccinations offered in the free National Immunisation Program, which included the Meningococcal C strain.
The more common B strain vaccine, called Bexsero, was made available in 2014 but is yet to be included in the free jab program.
“It’s available through private prescription and it is quite expensive,” Ms Antonio said.
“Not many people know about this strain – they all know about Meningococcal C but not so much about the B strain.”
She said Cairns paediatricians were trying to “push” the new immunisation.
“If it was within the National Immunisation Program schedule it would be government-funded but it’s expensive and that’s why people aren’t doing it.”
Currently, the recommendation is for four doses of the vaccine for babies and two doses for those over 12 months at a cost of about $140 a dose.
Cairns pharmacist Karna Pandya said getting his children vaccinated against the B strain was a “no-brainer”.
“I had no reservations,” Mr Pandya said. “Meningococcal can be deadly, why take the risk if the research is there?”
Parents who want to vaccinate their children against the strain of the serious bacterial disease can visit their GP for a prescription before ordering and picking up the immunisation from a pharmacy.
“It is one of those vaccines that is starting to become more popular now,” he said.
“The key thing with it is it has to be promoted by paediatricians.
“It is a newer medication but I would personally recommend it.”
Ms Antonio said side-effects included soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever, lack of appetite, muscle aches, irritability, sleepiness and sometimes a rash.
“We do recommend children have paracetamol 30 minutes before the injection (to help with fevers),” she said.
Meningococcal bacteria invades the body from the throat or nose.
SOURCE: The Cairns Post
Ferrari Technical Director James Allison has returned home to Britain following the death of his wife, Rebecca.
Allison, who was in the process of returning from Australia, has returned straight home to Britain after receiving word of the passing of his wife.
Ferrari were returning home from a promising opening round that saw the team lead 1-2 in the early stages before finishing on the podium with Sebastian Vettel.
The couple, who have three children together, split their time between the UK & Italy due to the Englishman’s high profile job with Scuderia Ferrari.
Rebecca is understood to have been suffering from meningitis.
In a statement from Ferrari, the team said:
“Our colleague James Allison has suffered the sudden loss of his beloved wife Rebecca. We at Ferrari are united with him and his family during this period of profound sorrow.”
No further details have been made available.
FormulaSpy expresses our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mr. Allison and the family and friends of Rebecca.
SOURCE: Formula Spy
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