National Survey Reveals Mothers Are Unaware Of The CDC Recommendations For Prevention Of Meningococcal Meningitis, A Disease That Can Potentially Kill In 24 Hours

National Survey Reveals Mothers Are Unaware Of The CDC Recommendations For Prevention Of Meningococcal Meningitis, A Disease That Can Potentially Kill In 24 Hours

Olympic Medalist swimmer and mother, Dara Torres, and the National Association of School Nurses launch multi-city health initiative as part of Voices of Meningitis™

May 12, 2014

SILVER SPRING, Md. and SWIFTWATER, Pa., May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Although meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious disease that can potentially take a life in 24 hours,1 a national survey revealed that more than two in three mothers have little to no knowledge of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations to prevent meningococcal meningitis.
The recommendation advises that a child receive one dose of vaccine at age 11 or 12 years, followed by a second vaccination at age 16.2 Results of the national survey also show that more than a quarter of the mothers surveyed (28%) believe getting the primary dose is important, but getting the second dose is not essential.
"I want parents to know about the serious consequences of meningococcal meningitis and the importance of vaccination," said Carolyn Duff, President of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). "Those aged 16-21 are at increased risk of the disease, and current CDC data suggest that vaccine protection wanes in most teens within five years.2 Therefore, it's important to understand that teens who have had the first dose of meningococcal vaccine now need a second vaccination to help protect them when they are at greater risk of infection."
The online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. mothers, who are most often the primary decision-makers in their households, was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Voices of Meningitis, a public health initiative of NASN in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. The survey was issued to gain a better understanding of mothers' gaps in knowledge about meningococcal meningitis and ways to help protect against the disease.
The survey also uncovered that nearly one in two mothers (45%) did not know that meningococcal meningitis can cause death within 24 hours of symptoms occurring, and the majority did not realize the disease can cause hearing loss (75% of mothers) and lead to amputation of limbs, fingers or toes (77% of mothers). 
Common everyday activities, such as kissing, sharing utensils and water bottles, and living in close quarters, such as a dormitory or sleep-away camp, can facilitate the transmission of the bacteria that can cause the disease.3,4,5,6
The Voices of Meningitis public health initiative and 12-time Olympic Medalist swimmer and mother, Dara Torres, are coming together to call attention to the disease. This spring, Dara will help raise awareness through a series of swim events in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.  Dara, along with local teen swim teams and mothers, will swim 24 laps to emphasize the urgency of disease prevention and highlight how the devastating effects of meningococcal disease can occur in as little as 24 hours.3,7  
Additionally, survivors of the disease, as well as parents of children who lost their lives to meningococcal meningitis, will be sharing their experiences during separate speaking tours in Cleveland, Kansas City, Portland and Raleigh.  Attendees at all events will be able to speak to a nurse from NASN to learn more about disease symptoms and prevention.
"As a mother, I can't imagine the grief one feels after losing a child," said Torres. "Therefore, I want to do what I can to raise awareness and help prevent meningococcal meningitis from taking another young person's life."
Parents can visit to learn more about meningococcal meningitis, hear stories from families who have been impacted by the disease and find educational materials and resources.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Sanofi Pasteur from March 4-19, 2014, among 2,003 mothers, who were the parent or guardian of at least one child between the ages of 11-18 living in their household. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Sean Clements ([email protected]; +1-570-957-0717).
About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit
About Meningococcal Disease and Meningococcal Meningitis
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis and includes meningitis, bacteremia (severe blood infection) and pneumonia. Approximately 50 percent of meningococcal cases are meningococcal meningitis.2 Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that includes swelling of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal meningitis develops rapidly and can claim the life of an otherwise healthy person in as little as one day after the first symptoms appear.
Ten to 15 percent of the 800 to 1,200 Americans who get meningococcal disease each year will die from the disease.2 Of those who survive, nearly one in five are left with serious medical problems, including: amputation of arms, legs, fingers and toes; neurologic damage; deafness and kidney damage.1, 2
To help protect against meningococcal disease, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccination of teens aged 11 through 18 years (one dose of vaccine should be administered at age 11 or 12 years, with a second vaccination at age 16 years for children who receive the first dose before age 16 years).1
About Voices of Meningitis
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Sanofi Pasteur are working together on the Voices of Meningitis campaign, now in its sixth year, to help prevent children and teens from contracting meningococcal meningitis.
About NASN
The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, first organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has more than 15,000 members and 50 affiliates, including the District of Columbia and overseas school nurses. The NASN mission is to advance school nurse practice to keep students healthy, safe and ready to learn. Please visit us on the Web at
About Sanofi
Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers a broad range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meningococcal Vaccines: What You Need To Know. Accessed March 24, 2014.  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of meningococcal disease – recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 2013;62(2):1-13. Accessed July 31, 2013.
Stephens DS, Greenwood B, Brandtzaeg P. Epidemic meningitis, meningococcaemia, and Neisseria meningitidis. Lancet. 2007;369(9580):2199.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meningococcal Disease. About: Causes and Transmission. Accessed March 24, 2014.
Swanson JR. Infectious disease in the strength and conditioning facility. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2006;28(6):76-80.
Rachael T, Schubert K, Hellenbrand W, et al. Risk of transmitting meningococcal infection by transient contact on aircraft and other transport. Epidemiology Infection. 2009;137(8):1057-61.
Pace D, Pollard A. Meningococcal disease: clinical presentation and sequelae. Vaccine. 2012;30(S):87.
SOURCE Sanofi Pasteur
For further information: Sanofi Pasteur, Media Relations, Sean Clements, T. +1-570-957-0717, [email protected],

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