Annual Notice of Meningococcal Diesease
As of July 1, 2005 schools are required to provide meningococcal information beginning
with sixth grade entry to students and parents in our community. Meningococcal disease,
commonly known as meningococcal meningitis, strikes up to 3,000 adolescents and
adults in the U.S., each year. Adolescents and young adults have an increased rate of contracting
meningococcal disease compared to the general population, accounting for nearly 30 percent of
all U.S. cases annually. According to one study, as many as one out of every four adolescents
infected with the disease may die. Of those who survive, up to 20 percent suffer long-term
disabilities, including brain damage, hearing loss, kidney disease and limb amputations.
The Department of Health wants you to be aware of meningococcal meningitis and the availability of a vaccine to protect against the disease. Vaccination can help protect against up to 83 percent of the meningococcal disease cases occurring among adolescents and young adults.
Vaccination is not required for school attendance.
We encourage you to learn more about meningococcal meningitis and prevention and speak to
your child’s physician about immunization. In addition, we urge you to speak to your children
about good hygiene and not sharing personal items that may help transmit the disease.
There is additional information available on the following web sites:
- Washington State Department of Health Immunization Program: Meningococcal disease information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Meningococcal vaccine information and Meningococcal Disease Information
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center
- National Meningitis Association