Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada applauds New Brunswick government decision to broaden meningitis protection



    ~ All grade six students in the province to be immunized with
    Menactra(TM) ~

    WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - The Meningitis Research Foundation of
Canada (MRFC) congratulates the New Brunswick government on its decision to
provide broad protection against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) with
Menactra(TM) to all grade six students beginning this school year. IMD is a
devastating disease that affects approximately 300 individuals in Canada
annually.
    "The government of New Brunswick has demonstrated tremendous leadership
in recognizing the importance of providing children with broad protection
against all four vaccine-preventable strains of invasive meningococcal
disease," said Kathryn Blain, Chair of the Meningitis Research Foundation of
Canada. "In recent months, we've heard reports of at least three deaths in
Canada due to invasive meningococcal disease caused by strains Y and W-135.
These tragedies could have been prevented, and knowing this we encourage
provincial governments to look at adding Menactra to their routine
immunization programs."
    The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada is especially pleased with
this announcement as it follows closely on the heels of a decision by the
government of Prince Edward Island to provide broad protection with Menactra
to all grade nine students in the province this past school year. As the first
provinces in Canada to include Menactra onto their routine immunization
schedules, the governments of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have
shown that they recognize that protection against strain C only is not enough;
and Canadian children deserve to have access to broad protection.
    Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious bacterial infection caused by
the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. Children
under five years, people aged 16 to 24 and those over 55 are most commonly
affected.
    Meningococcal disease progresses very quickly, and can be fatal in
48 hours or less. Approximately 10 per cent of individuals who contract
meningococcal disease will die. Of those who survive, up to one in five suffer
permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, neurological damage and limb
amputations.
    "As a mother who has lost a child to meningococcal disease, I strongly
believe that broad protection against all four vaccine-preventable strains of
this disease is essential," said Sherry Webster, Regional Coordinator of the
Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada in Quesnel, B.C. "I am extremely
pleased that the New Brunswick government has taken this important step, and I
hope that other governments will follow their example before another family is
affected by this terrible disease."

    About the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada

    The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada (MRFC) was established in
1998 after a mother suddenly lost her otherwise healthy son to the disease.
The mission of the foundation is to prevent death and disability from
meningitis and other infections of the central nervous system. Through
education the MRFC provides support to patients and their families affected by
meningitis; increases public awareness of meningitis; and promotes better
understanding of the disease among healthcare professionals. The MRFC also
provides funds for research into improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
of meningitis.





For further information:

For further information: Kathryn Blain, Founder and Chair, Meningitis
Research Foundation of Canada, 1-800-643-1303, fund@meningitis.ca; Dr. Ronald
Gold, Senior Medical Advisor, Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada, (416)
693-4227, ronald.gold@sympatico.ca

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Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada

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