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ORLANDO, Fla. Nurses and health officials in Florida have joined a campaign to educate parents about the dangers of meningitis.
The Florida Association of School Nurses and the Orange County Health Department are working with the Voices of Meningitis campaign to urge parents to vaccinate preteens and teenagers against meningococcal disease.
While the disease is rare, contracted by between 1,000 and 2,600 Americans each year, it is dangerous and can result in death in a child within a day, with a 10% fatality rate; survivors can also have serious complications, including amputation of limbs, brain damage and deafness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends immunization for preteens and teenagers ages 11 through 18 years, as well as college freshmen living in dormitories, but only one-in-three adolescents ages 13 to 17 years in Florida is immunized, compared with the CDC’s goal of a 90% vaccination rate in 2010.
“School nurses are on the front lines with students every day, and our mission is to keep our students safe and healthy,” public school nurse Carolyn Seifert said. “We have joined Voices of Meningitis to help raise awareness and encourage parents to speak to their child’s school nurse or other healthcare provider about meningococcal vaccination before coming back to school.”