Meningitis Death Causing Concern Across the Metro - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Meningitis Death Causing Concern Across the Metro

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Jenny Nowatzke

OMAHA (KPTM) - She was a young girl, who's life was taken by a devastating disease. Ashley Andreasen's sudden death from meningitis has left a lot of parents wondering, could the same thing happen to my child?

"Meningitis is a non specific term that relates to inflammation in the area around the brain and spinal chord." Dr. Mark Rupp with the Nebraska Medical Center says, meningitis can be caused by infection, bacteria, or a virus - with symptoms such as a headache, neck pain, and fever. "You have young people in their prime with a bright future who can be snuffed out so quickly," Rupp said. So, in order to help avoid all that, Rupp recommends all kids get the meningitis vaccine called Menactra. "The vaccine is common for kids ages 11 to 18.

We stress especially getting it when kids go off to college in dormitory settings," said Rupp. At Creighton University, about 80% of all students get the vaccine. "We send a letter to all students. We offer the vaccine here," said Debra Saure with Creighton's Student Health. Suare says, college campuses are a prime breeding ground for meningitis. "

Sharing utensils, sharing pops, kissing - that sort of thing," she said. Suare hopes more parents now realize they have the choice to help save their child's life. "I think the idea is that people need to be informed. They always have the choice. We're not saying you have to be vaccinated, but you need to know there is a vaccine that an save you from this devastation," she said. Doctors say, about 15 to 20 percent of meningitis patients die from the disease. 

Those who survive, can become deaf, mentally retarded, or even lose one of their limbs.

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