Alicia lost her daughter to meningitis B

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Alicia lost her daughter to meningitis B recently. She supports Princeton University’s decision to recommend the meningitis B vaccine to its students in response to an outbreak. Her daughter was vaccinated with the current vaccine which does not protect against the B strain. She looks forward to a time when vaccines are available against all active strains of the disease. We hope you read her story.

meningitis b

Alicia’s Story:

My daughter Emily was 19 years-old when she contracted meningococcal meningitis. She was a sophomore at a small private liberal arts college called Kalamazoo College. She passed away on February 2nd of this year. Despite valiant efforts to save her life, she was declared brain dead within 36 hours of walking into the hospital complaining of a headache. They tried everything, including a craniotomy, to relieve the swelling caused by the disease. Nothing worked.

Emily had been vaccinated, but she had the B serogroup, which wasn’t covered by the vaccine. I was not aware that the current vaccines don’t prevent all strains of the disease. I take some comfort that I did everything in my power to protect her at that time. But, as a mom who lost my child to the B strain, I would have given anything for an opportunity to further protect Emily. I would certainly want my other children to have access to a vaccine that could protect them during an outbreak.

I don’t know how my Emily got the disease. The truth of the matter is that most cases of meningitis occur through exposure to an asymptomatic carrier.

It is so important for all students, faculty and families to learn about the symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek prompt medical attention. It is especially important because the infection can be mistaken for other illnesses. Emily started out with a headache. If I had known the symptoms I would have sent her to the hospital when she first complained of a headache. Emily’s headache was misdiagnosed for a migraine, which delayed treatment.

I got involved with the National Meningitis Association to help educate and protect other families.

Source:
Parents who Protect

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