HOUSTON, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Meningitis Angels (MA) a national organization founded in memory of Ryan Milley the only child of Bob and Frankie Milley (Milley) announced today the launch of a national contest that would have tweens and teens ages 10-18 submit a photo of themselves getting their meningitis shot. A complete set of rules for entry may be found at http://www.meningitis-angels.org/meningitis-angels-vaccination-poster-contest.html. "We hope this contest will increase the meningococcal vaccination rate which is only about 50% among teens nationwide," said Milley.
Meningococcal disease is a sudden aggressive illness that can lead to death within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms. Survivors may suffer permanent brain damage, learning disabilities, vision and hearing loss, severe organ damage, seizure disorders, and limb amputations.
Milley and MA National Teen Leaders, Carye Wynn of New Jersey, Johnny D'Antona of New York/North Carolina and Harley Beaty of Texas recently presented across south east Kansas. This week of education kicked off with MA presenting Wynn with a college scholarship and Kansas Senator Vicki Schmidt presenting a state resolution to Meningitis Angels, declaring April 16-20, Kansas Meningitis Awareness Week and recognizing World Meningitis Day.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Immunization Program (KDHEIP), multiple county health departments, Dillion Pharmacies and others joined MA in educating thousands throughout the week which included private and public health care providers, middle, high school and college students and the public, on the disease and the prevention.
Milley said, "Before vaccinations, thousands of infants and toddlers died or were left debilitated from Hib and Pneumococcal meningitis. Thanks to vaccines these are almost eradicated in the US. However tweens and teens are still among the highest risk for meningococcal disease and the hardest to reach for health care and vaccinations.
MA works with schools, public and private health care providers, immunization coalitions and medical facilities around the country to create awareness and vaccination programs such as those presented in Kansas.
According to ACIP/CDC children ages (11) years, teens age 16, ALL upon college entry and all who have compromised immune systems should be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis. "Meningitis does not stop at the dorm room door. It is imperative we educate all on this deadly disease as well as other forms of vaccine preventable meningitis," said Milley.
During National Infant Immunization Week, Milley, along with other speakers from the CDC, Mexico and the Texas Health Department presented at the Texas Vaccines For Children (TVFC) Bi-national Conference hosted by the Hidalgo County Health Department. They spoke not only about meningitis but other vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough.
"We must do everything to prevent this deadly disease in the age groups where it is preventable. It is the right thing to do. No infant, child or adult should die or be left debilitated from any vaccine preventable disease especially one as deadly as meningitis," Concluded Milley.
SOURCE Meningitis Angels