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World Meningitis Day – a beginning of the end for meningitis (Apr 24 2011)

Karachi, April 24, 2011: World Meningitis Day is globally observed on April 24, the entire healthcare community comes together to continue their efforts to eradicate this deadly disease and to save millions of children worldwide.

Meningitis refers to an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain, known as the meninges, and is most commonly the result of a viral or bacterial infection. While viral meningitis generally clears up without specific treatment, bacterial meningitis is a far more serious infection that can cause severe brain damage and, if untreated, can lead to death in half of all reported cases.

Even with prompt, appropriate treatment, the consequences of bacterial meningitis can be extremely severe. Although, the disease is equally common in infants and adults, the mortality rates in infants are observed to be much higher. For children up to 5 years, the broadest coverage pneumococcal conjugate vaccine – PCV13 – is now available and is used widely to decrease the burden of this disease.

President of Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA), Dr. Amir Mohammad Jogezai stresses the need for prevention of this disease, “The use of vaccines helps prevent a substantial portion of meningitis deaths in Pakistan”.

The symptoms for Meningitis mostly are sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, as well as altered consciousness. Bacterial meningitis is most often caused by several types of bacteria, but the most common three are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides and Haemophilus influenzae type b.

Meningitis can best be avoided through vaccination, which is available, and has played a major role in tackling the gravity of this disease.

About World Meningitis Day
World Meningitis Day is globally observed on April 24, and is dedicated to raising disease awareness, underscoring the importance of prevention through vaccination and improving support for those dealing with the potentially devastating consequences of the disease.