DENVER, June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Colorado Association of School Nurses (CASN) has joined with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, among other local organizations, on the Denver Voices of Meningitis  campaign to help educate parents of preteens and teens about the dangers of meningitis and importance of vaccination. Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious bacterial infection that can cause meningitis and kill an otherwise healthy young person in just a single day.
In Colorado, approximately 54 percent of adolescents have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease, far below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) goal of an 80 percent vaccination rate. In the United States, about 10 percent of the 1,000 to 2,600 Americans who get meningococcal disease each year will die. For survivors, one in five is left with serious medical problems, such as amputation of limbs, brain damage, deafness and organ damage.
"Although vaccination rates have improved, too many adolescents still have not been immunized, leaving them at risk for this often devastating disease," said Amy Asher, RN, member of CASN. "We, the 'voices' of meningitis, are calling on all Denver parents to vaccinate their children and 'Pass the Voice' to anyone who will listen. We owe it to our children to help protect them from potentially harmful diseases."
Preteens and teens are at greater risk for meningitis and public health officials recommend meningococcal vaccination. Activities common among Denver adolescents, such as kissing, spending long periods of time with large groups and sharing water bottles or drinking glasses can increase their risk for contracting the disease.
Denver resident Donna Sentel knows firsthand how dangerous meningitis can be. Donna lost her daughter Elizabeth to meningococcal menin