An international survey conducted by GSK and released for World Meningitis Day shows gaps in the knowledge parents feel they have about meningococcal disease and its potential consequences. Almost 7 in 10 parents said they don’t know enough about the different strains of meningococcal disease and the potential damage they can cause. On average, more than half of parents were either unsure or unaware that there are different types of bacteria that cause the disease.
The survey of 5,000 parents in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy and Portugal also shows that out of a list of 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, meningococcal disease is considered by many parents to pose a top three health risk to their children. Fifty-seven percent listed meningococcal disease among the top three health conditions they considered of greatest risk to children followed by Hepatitis B at 34 percent, pneumococcal disease at 27 percent, polio at 25 percent, tetanus at 20 percent and pertussis at 17 percent.
A sudden, potentially life-threatening illness, meningococcal disease kills on average one person every eight minutes worldwide. It typically manifests as bacterial meningitis – an infection of the membrane around the brain and spine; or bacteraemia – a bloodstream infection. The disease progresses rapidly and it can lead to death within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms; globally up to 1 in 10 of those infected may die and in the US about 10-15 percent of people will die.
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