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National Survey Reveals Mothers Are Unaware Of The CDC Recommendations For Prevention Of Meningococcal Meningitis, A Disease That Can Potentially Kill In 24 Hours

SILVER SPRING, Md. and SWIFTWATER, Pa., May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Although meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious disease that can potentially take a life in 24 hours, 1 a national survey revealed that more than two in three mothers have little to no knowledge of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations to prevent meningococcal meningitis.

The recommendation advises that a child receive one dose of vaccine at age 11 or 12 years, followed by a second vaccination at age 16. 2 Results of the national survey also show that more than a quarter of the mothers surveyed (28%) believe getting the primary dose is important, but getting the second dose is not essential.

"I want parents to know about the serious consequences of meningococcal meningitis and the importance of vaccination," said Carolyn Duff, President of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). "Those aged 16-21 are at increased risk of the disease, and current CDC data suggest that vaccine protection wanes in most teens within five years. 2 Therefore, it's important to understand that teens who have had the first dose of meningococcal vaccine now need a second vaccination to help protect them when they are at greater risk of infection."

The online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. mothers, who are most often the primary decision-makers in their households, was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Voices of Meningitis, a public health initiative of NASN in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. The survey was issued to gain a better understanding of mothers' gaps in knowledge about meningococcal meningitis and ways to help protect against the disease.

The survey also uncovered that nearly one in two mothers (45%) did not know that meningococcal meningitis can cause death within 24 hours of symptoms occurring, and the majority did not realize the disease can cause hearing loss (75% of mothers) and lead to amputation of limbs, fingers or toes (77% of mothers). 

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