Liv Ullmann, Gary Springer and Nick
Did You Vaccinate Your Children
Against This Dreaded Disease?
ENORE COONEY reports that in just
20 years we have seen enormous progress in the U.S. in the
prevention of the major causes of meningitis. Until 1991, when
an effective vaccine became available, Haemophilus Influenza
type B (Hib) caused 12,000 cases of bacterial meningitis each
year and was the leading cause of acquired mental retardation.
"An effective vaccine against Hib
disease is now routinely given to every infant," she said at a
gala celebration of the National Meningitis Association (NMA) in
April at the New York Athletic Club. Ms. Cooney served as chair
of the benefit committee along with Sara Herbert-Galloway
and Gary Springer.
"We now also have vaccines to prevent
meningococcal infection, another cause of severe meningitis. But
a third of all adolescents eligible for it have not been fully
Heather Tufano presented an
outstanding service award to her mother, Carol Tufano.
Carol is a nurse who got involved with NMA after her daughter
was afflicted. "I was frustrated to see this disease so
misunderstood," Carol said.
In nursing school 39 years ago, Carol
learned that meningococcemia was one of the most dreaded
diseases to treat and cure. And 25 years later it hit her
family. Her daughter Heather contracted the disease as a college
freshman. Carol never left Heather’s bedside for two and a half
months in the hospital and throughout her long recovery of
learning how to live as an amputee.
Recently Carol watched with great
pride as her daughter walked down the aisle at her wedding.
The NMA Health Achievement Award went
to Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor at
ABC News. He was honored for educating the public and healthcare
professionals on the importance of vaccinations to protect
families against preventable illnesses.