Saturday, April 23, 2011

World Meningitis Day

 bout Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It can be the result of infection by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Bacterial meningitis is the most serious type of meningitis, and it is often associated with a potentially life-threatening blood infection (septicaemia). The most common bacteria causing meningitis and septicaemia are:

·       Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib);
·       Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal); and
·       Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal).

Meningitis can develop rapidly and its symptoms often resemble the flu (e.g., fever, fatigue and headache), which makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose. Even with early and appropriate treatment, the rates of death and serious long-term effects of the disease can be high. Survivors often suffer serious long-term consequences, such as deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, and limb loss. While the disease can affect people of all ages, infants, children and adolescents are at an increased risk of infection. Immunizations against bacterial meningitis with those vaccines that are available is essential; no one should suffer from this disease.

About World Meningitis Day

World Meningitis Day – annually on 24 April – is dedicated to raising awareness of meningitis, underscoring the importance of prevention through vaccination and improving support for those dealing with the potentially devastating consequences of this disease. The global family has grown over the past two years and now reaches across the globe from North and South America, through Europe to the Middle East, into the Indian subcontinent and throughout South East Asia and the Far East to Australia to join hands across state lines, country borders and continents. The date of 24 April 2011 is significant because it overlaps with European Immunization Week, sponsored by the World Health Organization, and Vaccination Week in the Americas, promoted by Pan American Health Organization and supported by health authorities throughout the United States, Canada and Central America.

The Confederation of Meningitis Organizations’ Inc (CoMO) brings together patient groups and child health organizations’ from all over the world who are working toward the elimination of meningitis and its related septicaemia and who support those touched by these diseases.

CoMO is incorporated as a charitable body in Perth, Western Australia with Rules of Association formulated under Australian law.  The secretariat and Chief Executive’s office are located in the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth. The secretariat deals with administration of CoMO and all applications for membership.

CoMO currently has 29 members and associate members in 20 countries and is organised on a regional basis – The Americas, Europe & Africa and Asia Pacific; making members globally united and regionally enabled in the fight against meningitis and septiceamia.

By joining hands together and raising our voices CoMO and its members can make a difference to the spread of knowledge around the world about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and the means of prevention by vaccination.

Vaccines are now available to protect against many of the bacteria which cause meningitis and septicaemia.

A source of information for the latest research on meningitis and its related septicaemia is CoMO member Meningitis Research Foundation (UK). This organization has been funding research in this area for over 20 years and holds a biennial conference on topics surrounding these diseases.

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