Canadians can join hands in a virtual community with the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada and become a member of the global family by visiting www.comoonline.org and "joining hands" in the fight against meningitis, and to show support for meningitis awareness and prevention.
Of all infectious diseases, perhaps none grips parents with greater fear than meningitis, with its sudden onset, flu-like symptoms and potentially deadly nature.
World Meningitis Day, on Sunday 24 April, is dedicated to raising disease awareness, underscoring the importance of prevention through vaccination and improving support for those dealing with the potentially devastating consequences of the disease.
Meningitis is a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which can be the result of infection by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe type, and it is a medical emergency. It can strike quickly, be difficult to diagnose, and can lead to death in a matter of hours. In addition, a potentially life-threatening blood poisoning called septicaemia may be associated with the disease.
Those surviving bacterial meningitis or septicaemia can have their lives devastated as a result of after-effects, such as deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, and, with septicaemia, limb loss. Meningitis impacts people of all ages, but infants, children and adolescents are particularly at risk of infection.
Vaccines are now available to protect against many of the bacteria which cause meningitis and septicaemia.
"We are very excited about the events of today and feel that April 24th being designated Meningitis Awareness Day will provide further opportunity to raise awareness of this insidious disease to families of Ontario," said Kathryn Blain, founder and executive director of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada.
This year, to raise awareness of meningitis and bring a face to the disease that knows no borders - CoMO (Confederation of Meningitis Organisations) is launching a podcast on meningococcal disease, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis. The podcast, created with the support of Novartis Vaccines, features experts, survivors and parents from around the world whose lives have been touched by the disease.
MENINGITIS RESEARCH FOUNDATION OF CANADA