Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada launches "24" inspired awareness campaign
WATERLOO, ON, April 24, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - On this day April 24, World Meningitis Day, the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada (MRFC) is launching an awareness campaign inspired by the TV show "24" to raise awareness about the urgent nature of meningitis and the need for prevention through vaccination.
"Bacterial meningitis kills one in 10 of those infected, typically within the first 24 to 48 hours," said Kathryn Blain, founder and executive director of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. "For those who survive the 24 to 48 hour window, many will be permanently disabled."
While Kiefer Sutherland's character on the famous TV show "24" always knows the clock is ticking, 30% of Canadians would take a "wait and see" approach when faced with the classic symptoms of meningitis: stiff neck, sudden high fever and/or small irregular purple spots.
In fact, 92% of Canadians claim to be somewhat, not very, or not at all familiar with meningitis and approximately half of Canadians do not realize that meningitis can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, sharing drinking glasses, kissing and sharing eating utensils.
World-champion snowboarder, model and motivational speaker shares her story
At the age of 19, Amy Purdy contracted meningitis and within 24 hours went into a state of septic shock. She was given a 2% chance of surviving. Amy fell into a coma for three weeks, her lungs collapsed, had a kidney transplant, lost hearing in one ear and had both of her legs amputated below the knees.
"When I was in the hospital, the doctors told my parents that all this pain and suffering was vaccine preventable," recalls Amy. "That is why every chance I get, I talk to people about bacterial meningitis and how important prevention is." Amy is now being invited to share her story around the world.
"The symptoms of meningitis are often mistaken for the flu, making it difficult for many people to recognize the severity of the situation," says Dr. Ronald Gold, Senior Medical Advisor at the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. "Vaccination is the best way to prevent meningitis."
Canadians unsure of meningitis vaccine program status
The vast majority of Canadians surveyed with children (85%) would likely have their children vaccinated knowing that this procedure is recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Over half of Canadians (59%) also said they would be surprised to learn that their province did not offer a vaccination program to protect their children against four of the five vaccine-preventable meningitis bacteria; they will be surprised to learn then that approximately 14.5 million Canadians do not have access to a quadrivalent vaccination program in their province.
"World Meningitis Day is a reminder for Canadians to speak to their doctors about meningitis," said Kathryn Blain. "Our survey indicates that there is more work to be done in terms of educating the public about how to prevent this devastating disease."
About the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada
The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada strives to raise funds to promote education and research in order to prevent death and disability from meningitis and other infections of the central nervous system. Through education, we provide support to patients and their families affected by meningitis; increase public awareness of meningitis; promote better understanding of the disease among healthcare professionals. Through research, we provide funds for improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of meningitis. For more information, visit www.meningitis.ca.
About the Ipsos Survey
The results of the survey completed in March 2012 are based on 1014 online interviews conducted nationally. The sample was generated by Ipsos-Reid's national online panel (Ipsos I-say Online Panel). With a sample size of 1014, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had all Canadians between 18 to 64 been polled. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data.
Video with caption: "Janet's story". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120424_C8435_VIDEO_EN_12678.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120424_C8435_PHOTO_EN_12678.jpg&clientName=Meningitis%20Research%20Foundation%20of%20Canada&caption=Janet%27s%20story&title=Janet%27s%20story&headline=When%20you%20have%20meningitis%2C%20the%20clock%20is%20ticking%26%23x2026%3B
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