20.6.2013: NAI member group Meningitis Research Foundation presents in Leinster House

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NAI members, the Meningitis Research Foundation met with TD's in Leinster House yesterday to raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia and to ensure that tackling the disease remains a top public health priority. In a Parliamentary Briefing co-hosted by Caoimhghin O Caolain TD and Jerry Buttimer TD, a large group of interested public representatives came together to hear expert opinions and personal stories of the disease. Many of the TD's were invited by Meningitis Research Foundation members who shared their experience of the devastating disease with their local political representatives.

Ireland has the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in Europe and accounts for around 170 cases of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia each year. The disease is serious and life threatening and whilst it can affect any group it kills more children under the age of five years than any other infectious disease. In addition, of those who survive a quarter are left with life altering effects that can be as severe as brain damage, limb loss, blindness or deafness. Not surpisingly meningitis is the infectious disease most feared by parents of young children, GP's and Practice Nurses.

Much of the discussion in Leinster House revolved around vaccination which is one of the most important public health interventions for protecting the population from serious diseases such as meningitis. SInce the first meningitis vaccine was introduced in 1992 the impact of many strains of meningitis including Hib, MenC and pneumococcal have been dramatically reduced. However MenB remains a significant public health issue and is responsible for the majority of meningococcal disease in Ireland.

A vaccine for MenB was licensed in January and is currently being reviewed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. The Parliamentary Briefing gave the Meningitis Research Foundation and several health experts the opportunity to stress how important the introduction of this vaccine would be. 

Check out their facebook page for details of Keep Watching Ireland, their new campaign highlighting that children are not protected from all forms of meningitis and that parents and others must keep watching out for signs and symptoms. www.facebook.com/meningitiskeepwatchingireland

 

 

 
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