Monday, November 22, 2010

Myths Fuel Dangerous Decisions to Not Vaccinate Children | Vaccination Decline | Bacterial Meningitis & Vaccine Myths | LiveScience

Over the course of one summer vacation, Tyler Ludlum went from being a healthy 10-year-old, looking forward to the pool, to an emotionally and physically traumatized preteen who'd traded both of his feet, and half the fingers on his right hand, for his life.

It could have been prevented if he – or those around him – had been vaccinated.

Tyler had contracted meningococcal meningitis, a swelling of membranes around the brain and spinal cord that's caused by bacteria passed by nasal or oral droplets. Tyler was likely in the vicinity of a perhaps asymptomatic carrier of the disease, when this person coughed or sneezed.

But his story is more than a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: A vaccine that's at least 85 percent effective at preventing meningococcal meningitis is widely available and strongly recommended by health officials. Too young to have received the vaccination as part of a routine visit, Tyler was dependent on those around him to be immunized.


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