You've heard about meningitis. Maybe you have even received a meningitis vaccine. But you may not know as much as you think about what it takes to prevent it.
Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening bacterial infection that can affect the lining of the brain and spinal cord, or it can cause an infection in the bloodstream - or both. It is one of the most common kinds of bacterial meningitis, and is mainly caused by 5 types of meningococcal bacteria - ABCWY. It can kill in a matter of hours.
Two separate meningitis vaccines are necessary to be fully immunized against the disease. Most have received the MenACWY vaccine. Few have received the MenB vaccine.
The Story Behind the Meningitis B Action Project
The Meningitis B Action Project was founded by Patti Wukovits and Alicia Stillman, two mothers who each lost their young, healthy daughters too soon to a now vaccine preventable disease, Meningitis B.
High school senior Kimberly Coffey, 17, died one week before her graduation. College sophomore Emily Stillman, 19, died just 36 hours after her first symptoms.
In the case of Kimberly and Emily, while both had received the MenACWY vaccine, the MenB vaccine was not yet available to help protect them from MenB. Today, through the Meningitis B Action Project, these mothers are joining forces to make sure other parents don’t needlessly suffer the same fate.
"When the ER doctor told me she suspected my daughter had bacterial meningitis, I told the doctor it wasn't possible because she had been vaccinated against meningitis. But what I didn't know, and what so many parents still don't realize, is that there is a separate strain of meningococcal disease – MenB – that is not covered by the traditional, more widely-known meningitis vaccine."
- Patti Wukovits, mother of Kimberly Coffey, nurse, and Co-Founder of the Meningitis B Action Project. Patti lost my 17-year-old daughter Kimberly to Meningitis B in 2012.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal Vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaccine-info.html
(2) Meyer S. Epidemiology of meningococcal disease among college students – United States, 2014-2016. https:// www. cdc. gov/ vaccines/ acip/meetings/ downloads/ slides- 2018- 02/Mening- 02- Meyer- 508. pdf
(3) Kempe A, Allison MA, MacNeil JR, et al. Adoption of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations. Pediatrics. 2018;142(3):e20180344