World Meningitis Day was April 25th. Normally, this would bear little significance to me – had I not witnessed the devastating effects of meningitis, and the toll it can take on a child, and the child’s family. Yes, I know of a meningitis survivor. And that’s why I wanted to help spread the word.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. Different germs can cause meningitis – bacterial or viral and sometimes fungi. Bacterial meningitis is the one of the most common forms of meningococcal disease.
There are more than 1000 cases in Canada every year of bacterial meningitis. In Canada, of those who develop meningitis, one in four die within 48 hours and half of them are younger than five years of age.
Meningitis survivors can experience devastating consequences including varying degrees of blindness, deafness, paralysis, loss of limbs and mental retardation. Infants, children and young adults are one of the most impacted groups by bacterial meningitis in Canada.
B strain is the most prevalent strain of bacterial meningitis across targeted age groups – under 1 years, 1-4 years and 15-19 years of age. There is currently no protection available for meningitis B.
Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Especially when you consider it can happen to anyone… at any time. But, the video – and Keaton in particular – also serve as a source of strength and inspiration for all survivors of this serious disease. Perhaps you’ve heard of meningitis, but have not taken the time to really learn about the causes, symptoms and severity. I hope you’ll keep this info at the back of your mind – and pray that it’ll never be more than a point of reference.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
You can’t get meningitis from casual contact, such as by breathing the air that an infected person has breathed. These bacteria do not live long outside the human body. But you can get it from close or prolonged contact with an infected person. The bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis live in the back of the nose and throat and are carried by 10% to 25% of the population.
Good personal hygiene can help prevent the spread of disease:
– Don’t share food, glasses, water bottles, or eating utensils.
– Don’t share tissues or towels.
– Don’t share lip-gloss or lipstick.
– Wash hands often with soap and water.
Click here to view symptoms of meningitis.
MENINGITIS RESEARCH FOUNDATION:
The MRF is Canada’s national voice on meningitis awareness and is dedicated to the prevention of meningitis, to improving survival rates and outcomes, and to the support of families of those whose lives have been changed by this disease. It was founded by Kathryn Blain, an Ontario mother who lost her 14 year old son to meningitis.
Although the video references being vaccinated against the disease, I am in no way endorsing the use vaccines (that’s a very personal decision) or suggesting that you stop everything and stress out about meningitis. BUT, it is helpful to know the facts, and being informed can help you make educated decisions about the health and well-being of your family.