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Meningitis is still with us. It can strike in an instant, but the impact can last a lifetime - Meningitis Now

The 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak in the United States exemplifies how frightening and deadly meningitis can be.

"While the more common bacterial and viral forms of meningitis tend to strike quickly with obvious symptoms, fungal meningitis grows slowly and is hard to diagnose. The black mold creeping into the spines of hundreds of people who got tainted shots for back pain marks uncharted medical territory. Never before has this particular fungus been found to cause meningitis.

It’s incredibly hard to diagnose, and to kill — requiring at least three months of a treatment that can cause hallucinations. There’s no good way to predict survival, or when it’s safe to stop treating, or exactly how to monitor those who fear the fungus may be festering silently in their bodies." Source: Unprecedented ‘black mold’ meningitis challenges doctors, Healthy Living, November 1, 2012.

But at the same time nothing is more frightening than meningococcal meningitis. Unlike viral meningitis, an otherwise healthy young person can be dead within a day after the initial symptoms appear.

"For a small but growing number of college students, the undergraduate experience now may include a close brush with one of the most frightening infections on the planet: meningococcal disease. Long known as an illness of early childhood, meningococcal disease has doubled among teenagers and young adults in the United States during the last decade, striking college freshmen in particular. The increase has been even more alarming in other countries...

Despite all the progress in intensive care and the introduction of new vaccines for all but one type of meningococcal disease, the scourge still strikes fear into whole communities. It's a killer that doesn't discriminate, and across the world, hundreds of thousands die from it each year, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

There are already vaccines for several serogroups of meningococcal disease, but there is still no vaccine that provides broad protection against MenB which unfortunately represents about 50% of all meningococcal infections. However, the good news is that there is a MenB vaccine undergoing clinical trials.

In the meantime listen to what the school nurses have to say, get immunized for the other serogroups. It may save your life!"

Source: Killer Disease on Campus, NOVA

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