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Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Declare Voices of Meningitis Week

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 Corporate News J E 4
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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 16 The Sacramento Board of Supervisors, including Roger Dickinson, Chair, have partnered with the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO), Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, and Sacramento Healthy Community Immunization Coalition, to declare August 16-20 as Voices of Meningitis Week in support of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Voices of Meningitis campaign, a program that aims to help educate families of preteens and teens about the dangers of meningococcal meningitis and the importance of vaccination.

Meningococcal disease may be rare, but it's often devastating and can take the life of a healthy child in just a single day. Public health officials recommend meningococcal vaccination for preteens and teens 11 through 18 years of age and college freshmen living in dormitories. Yet, despite these public health recommendations, the National Immunization Survey found that less than half of California teens 13 through 17 years of age have been immunized, which is far below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) goal of a 90 percent vaccination rate.

"Over the years our community has suffered the deaths of young people from this disease. We now have an effective vaccine to prevent the disease and back to school is the perfect time for those entering middle school or high school to get vaccinated," said Glennah Trochet, MD, Sacramento County Public Health Officer.

"I urge parents of preteens and teens in Sacramento County to speak to their child's school nurse or health-care provider about meningitis and vaccination, especially this week as we declare it Voices of Meningitis Week," said Supervisor Dickinson.

Following the declaration, local Sacramento preteens and teens from the Twin Rivers Unified School District will lead by example by receiving their meningococcal vaccination.

About Voices of Meningitis

Voices of Meningitis brings together the many "voices" of meningitis - school nurses, parents whose children have been affected by the disease, survivors of meningococcal meningitis, and public health professionals - to raise awareness about the dangers of meningococcal meningitis and the importance of prevention for preteen and teenage children.

Voices of Meningitis includes educational materials for the public and health-care providers, as well as a public service campaign featuring school nurses, disease survivors, and families affected by meningitis. The campaign also features a comprehensive website, www.VoicesOfMeningitis.org, where visitors can hear the compelling stories of families that have been personally affected by meningitis and access educational information about the disease and the importance of vaccination. The campaign also includes a Facebook page, Raise Your Voice Against Meningitis, where users can learn about the disease and pledge to vaccinate their children during National Immunization Awareness Month in August.

About Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a serious infection that can cause meningitis (swelling of the brain or spinal cord) or meningococcemia (blood infection). The disease can be spread through common everyday activities, such as sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses, living in close quarters like dormitories or overnight summer camps, and kissing. Meningococcal disease can be hard to recognize, especially in its early stages, because symptoms are similar to those of more common viral illnesses. Unlike more common illnesses, the disease can progress quickly and may cause death or disability in just a single day.

Public health officials recommend meningococcal vaccination for preteens and teens 11 through 18 years of age, college freshmen living in dormitories and children 2 through 10 years of age who are at increased risk or if elected by their health-care providers and parents.

Vaccines are available for people who wish to reduce their risk for contracting the disease.

About the National Association of School Nurses

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has over 14,000 members and 51 affiliates, including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of the NASN is "to improve the health and educational success of children and youth by developing and providing leadership to advance the school nursing practice."

About the California School Nurses Organization

The California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) is an affiliate of the NASN. The CSNO was formally organized in 1950, following two years of meetings for "the promotion of comprehensive and constructive school health programs." Today, the organization's goals continue to be the promotion of comprehensive school health programs, leadership development, legislative advocacy for children's health and school health issues, and fostering communication among school nurses.

CSNO has approximately 1,400 members throughout California. CSNO members serve children from birth through 22 years of age in all school settings.

For More Information

For more information about the Voices of Meningitis educational initiative, visit www.VoicesOfMeningitis.org. For information about the National Association of School Nurses, visit www.nasn.org or call 866-627-6767. For state specific information, select "Affiliate Organizations" under "QUICKLINKS" on the NASN homepage. For information about the California School Nurses Organization, visit www.CSNO.org.

Voices of Meningitis is a program of the National Association of School Nurses in collaboration with sanofi pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group.

SOURCE California School Nurses Organization
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