By: Ms. J
Today is the annual World Meningitis Day. It is held to raise awareness about meningitis, getting vaccinated and providing support to those who have the disease.
What is Meningitis?
“Meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid and membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.” (COMO). There are 3 different types of meningitis which are bacterial, fungal and viral. This disease can be contracted at anytime, anywhere and by anyone. Many are not able to recognize it in its early stages due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to that of the flu such as fever, drowsiness, vomiting and headaches. Without prompt medical attention it can lead to death or disability.
“Meningitis kills or disables around 1.2 million people worldwide each year.” (COMO).
This day is very dear to me because it reminds me of how fortunate I am to be alive and well after suffering through meningitis at 2 weeks old. I contracted it while traveling from New York to Boston during the holiday season at the bus station. My mother had her hands full with me and luggage that she asked someone to assist her. This person had meningitis unbeknownst to her. Within a 24hr period my mother began to suspect that something was wrong with me as I was unresponsive to eating and did not seem like my usual happy self. Thankfully my dear cousin in Boston recommended that my mother take me to the hospital and I was fortunate to receive the medical assistance I needed to combat the disease without any after effects. Thank you Boston!!! During that critical two week period in the hospital, my mother, cousins and everyone who came into contact with me had to get vaccinated immediately. December 1986 was a year my family would never forget and as I grew older and learned of what happened to me I am thankful to God that he spared my life. “Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, approximately10% of patients will die within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, and up to 20% or more will sustain permanent damage and disability. Those surviving meningitis can have their lives devastated as a result of long-term effects, such as deafness, brain damage, learning difficulties, seizures, difficulties with physical activities and when septicaemia is involved loss of limbs.” (COMO).
Reading other stories of meningitis survivors is petrifying to learn of everything that they went through because what I went through I don’t remember since I was two weeks old and there is no known visible effects that I have ever had this disease. I just recently learned of this day and I am very motivated to work for the cause.
Do you or anyone you know have ever contracted Meningitis? If so, please share your story so that we may spread the word.
Learn more about Meningitis at: