GSK Campaign Aims To Help Prevent Meningitis

By Megan (Weyrauch) Johnson on August 12, 2016

According to a recent press release, most teens and adults have not received the vaccines needed to protect against all five vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis.

To combat this, GSK, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, launched an educational campaign called Take 5 for Meningitis to raise awareness of meningitis, a rare but potentially deadly disease. The campaign will use news media, social media and educational events to educate parents and young adults about the disease, urging them to talk to their healthcare provider about vaccinations.

A, B, C, W, and Y are the five vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis. Two types of vaccines can help protect against these groups. According to the release, about 70 percent of young people have received the vaccine protecting against groups A, C, W and Y, and less than 10 percent have received the vaccine that helps protect against meningitis B, which causes approximately 30 percent of the cases in the U.S. Meningitis B vaccination is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people ages 16-23. The campaign hopes to help increase immunization rates against this group of meningitis.

One in 10 people with meningitis B will die, with one in five survivors suffering long-term disabilities including loss of limbs, brain damage, deafness and nervous system problems. Because they live, work and play in places in close contact to each other (at school, campus, sports teams, college dorms, etc.), young people are particularly at risk.

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U.S. Paralympic cyclist and meningitis survivor Jamie Schanbaum helped launch the campaign with world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes and Dr. Len Friedland, Vice President, Director Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines North America for GSK. U.S. Paralympian wheelchair rugby player and meningitis survivor Nick Springer will also tell his story of survival throughout the campaign to help educate on the importance of vaccination.

“I was in my first semester at my dream college when I learned one of the hardest lessons of my life. What I first thought was the flu turned out to be meningitis and I ended up losing all of my fingers and both legs below the knees,” Schanbaum said in the press release.

The largest vaccines manufacturer in the world, GSK launched a website to help parents and young people learn about meningococcal meningitis, the risk factors, how it can be spread, the symptoms, the impact of the disease and protective measures. Visit www.meningitis.com for more information.

“When it comes to meningitis, what you don’t know can hurt you. That’s why I have joined with GSK in this effort to educate others about meningitis,” Schanbaum said. “I urge everyone to take five minutes to learn the facts and what they can do to help prevent it.”

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