HOUSTON, June 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Frankie Milley, the mother of an only child, Ryan who died from meningococcal meningitis and founder of a national organization called Meningitis Angels, said today, "It is tragic about the continuing preventable meningococcal outbreaks. Meningitis does not stop at the dorm room door."
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet in late June to decide whether or not to make a routine recommendation for use of Meningococcal group B (Men B) vaccines for middle school entry – college freshmen age.
In February the ACIP committee recommended vaccinations for students on college campuses once an outbreak occurs. Outbreaks are happening now and will continue in the future with this kind of recommendation. "Once an outbreak occurs, a death or debilitation of a teen or young adult has usually occurred. Too little too late! Not one more death or debilitation of a teen or young adult should be allowed! It is preventable," said Milley.
Milley, Berman, Parkhurst and parents of other dead or disabled children, survivors and others are encouraging the ACIP committee to finish the great job it started and make the same routine recommendations for Men B as the other serogroups which include vaccinating middle school students through college freshmen.
Milley believes, The Men B vaccine should have the same routine recommendations as the other vaccines for meningococcal serogroups A, C, Y and W135 in the US. She tearfully stated, "I watch my only child go from perfect health, to an earache and fever, to blood coming from every orifice of his body and death in less than 14 hours. It was preventable. However there were no recommendations, education, accessibility or affordability of the vaccine at the time. I can't change that but I have and will continue the fight to make sure there is complete recommendation for prevention of this disease now. It breaks my heart that anyone would fight recommendations of vaccines that would save the lives of kids."
David Berman, DO MS FAAP FPIDS with the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
All Children's Hospital and Johns Hopkins Medicine stated, "Over the past two years, there have been several outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease across US college campuses including University of California (Santa Barbara), Providence College, Princeton University and this year the University of Oregon. This list does not account for isolated cases of disease reported from other colleges including San Diego State, Georgetown, Kalamazoo, Drexel, the adolescent and the gay communities."
Meningococcal disease has a tremendous impact factor. Its onset is abrupt and even with medical intervention, fatality can approach 15%. It has a short incubation period and spreads rapidly to other students or close contacts.
The good news is that the disease is preventable. Serogroup B has emerged as a leading cause of invasive disease in the US adolescent population. There are two safe and effective vaccines to prevent death and severe disability. I recommend that the ACIP move forward with a universal recommendation for teenagers and all those that will be attending college this fall."
Berman continued, "As a pediatrician, infectious diseases specialist and a parent, I have seen children die from this disease or suffer permanent disabilities. I have witnessed first-hand what families have gone through. I have already immunized my daughter as she will begin college in August. It is more important to prevent disease rather than to wait for a college campus outbreak which will cost lives, permanent disability, and anguish for families."
Scott Parkhurst, of Oregon whose 17 year old died from the disease, took his older son to Canada to get the vaccine. "No parent should have to go out of country to get a vaccine for their family when it is approved in the US. I will not lose another child to a preventable disease."
An ACIP committee's routine recommendation of Men B will ensure education on the disease and vaccines, guarantee the accessibility and affordability of vaccine for all those teens and young adults most at risk.
Milley stated, "We must remember that 2 different vaccinations are needed in order to fully protect against meningococcal meningitis. To only focus on one gives parents and students a false since of security. The vaccines for meningococcal groups A, C, Y and W135 are different from the vaccines that prevent group B. They are all deadly! Teens and young adults are all at risk. To only make college recommendations for those living in dorms sends a message of less importance to other and younger teen students."
Meningococcal B, like serogroups A, C, Y, and W135, progresses quickly and can cause brain damage, hearing loss, vision loss, severe seizure disorders, mental illness, limb loss and death in as little as 48 hours. It is a contagious disease that spreads in places where people/families live/gather in close quarters, share drinks such as bars and athletic events, food, cigarettes and have close intimate contact such as kissing. Experts claim smokers carry the bacteria "Neisseria meningitides" which causes the disease at a higher rate.
Milley said, "It is heartbreaking that uneducated self-proclaimed vaccine experts with misguided information may be leading some state policy decisions and causing parents not to vaccinate not only for meningitis but all vaccine preventable diseases. Who will be held accountable for the deaths and debilitations of children from deadly vaccine preventable diseases?"
Berman said, "Let's make the right decision and protect adolescents against this deadly disease. How many more outbreaks will we need to make a routine recommendation?"
Angels launched their new Music video "Angels Wings" staring new country music artist Curtis Braly and some of the Angel kids. The video shares the devastation of meningitis through beautiful song that will inspire all on life. A PSA from Angels on this issue is attached. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELVflh0DTms
Milley will be in Atlanta for the CDC/ACIP meeting beginning June 22nd -June 25th and available for media interview. You may contact Milley or any of the Angels at Meningitis Angels [email protected] or by visiting www.Meningitis-Angels.org
SOURCE Meningitis Angels