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School nurses work to get teens vaccinated

Sept. 11, 2011 at 11:54 PM   |   Comments

CLEVELAND, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- After a survey indicated 40 percent of Ohio teens had not been vaccinated against meningococcal disease, nurses began educating families about the health issue.

The Ohio Association of School Nurses, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County health officials, and the Consortium for Healthy and Immunized Communities Inc. are lending their support to the National Association of School Nurses' Voices of Meningitis campaign to increase meningitis vaccination rates among preteens and teens in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

"I didn't know the meningitis vaccine even existed, until my family experienced the devastation this disease can cause firsthand," Cindy Krejny, who lost her daughter Erin to the disease, says in a statement. "Other families need to know this disease may be prevented through vaccination. I do not want another family to experience what we went through."

Terry Allan, health commissioner of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, says meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, may be rare, but it's often devastating and can take the life of an otherwise healthy child in just a single day.

Preteens and teens are at greater risk for meningitis than other age groups, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommends they be vaccinated beginning at age 11, with a booster dose by 18 years of age, Allan says.

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