COLUMBUS — The Immunization Advocacy Network of Ohio (IANO) is issuing a reminder to the public that Thursday, March 9 is Ohio Meningitis Awareness Day, or otherwise known as Tess’s Day, in memory of State Senator Cliff Hite’s niece Tess who passed from this deadly disease.
IANO is a statewide network of immunization providers and supporters who share information, best practices and serve as a collective voice educating and advocating for vaccines in Ohio,
In its most serious form, bacterial meningitis can cause inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, a blood infection, or both. The disease can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms like headache, fever and nausea can be similar to those of more common conditions like the flu. Meningitis becomes serious very quickly, and can kill within 48 hours. Up to 15 percent of those who get meningitis will die, and of those who survive, one in five will have lasting effects like brain damage, hearing loss, or limb amputation.
People of any age can get meningitis, but those most at risk include very young children, adolescents and, especially, those living in close quarters like college dormitories. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the meningococcal vaccine for everyone aged 11 to 18 years old. Ohio students entering the 7th and 12th grades are required by state law to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.
IANO encourages Ohioans to learn more about meningococcal disease and to talk to their healthcare provider or local health department about immunizations and other information to prevent this terrible and deadly disease. You can also learn more by visiting the National Meningitis Association at http://www.nmaus.org.