This letter is to inform you about meningococcal disease, which includes
meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis may be rare, but it’s often devastating.
It can take the life of a child in just a single day. Anyone can get meningitis,
but preteens and teens are at greater risk than other age groups. In fact,
meningococcal vaccination is recommended for preteens and teens to help protect
them from the disease.
Meningococcal meningitis can be spread from one person to another through common
everyday activities. This includes sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses, living in
close quarters such as summer camps or dormitories and kissing. Prevention is particularly
important because the disease moves quickly and can be difficult to recognize,
especially in its early stages, as symptoms are similar to those of the flu.
School nurses across the country have joined with families personally affected by
meningitis to help educate parents about the disease and the importance of
vaccination through the Voices of Meningitis campaign. Vaccination has
been available for years as a safe and effective way to help protect against
the disease. The cost of the vaccine is covered by most health insurance or you can
contact your local public health department to determine if your child is eligible to receive
the vaccine free of charge through programs like the Vaccines for Children Program.
You are urged to talk to your child’s health care provider about vaccination.
For more information about meningococcal meningitis and vaccination, please contact the
school nurse or go to www.VoicesOfMeningitis.org.
Beth Kempton, RN
Weakley County Schools