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Immunization is your best defense: First MenB vaccine in Canada

(NC) Those people who get meningococcal disease and survive may be left facing life-long disabilities. Meningococcal disease is a sudden and aggressive illness that manifests as bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria can also cause septicemia – a bloodstream infection.

“In Canada, MenB is the leading cause of meningococcal disease. Up to 20 per cent of survivors may suffer from a devastating outcome with life-long neurological or physical disabilities,” said Dr. Ron Gold, Senior Medical Advisor, Member of the Board of Directors of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. “The best protection for Canadian families is prevention through vaccination as this disease leaves little time for intervention. I encourage parents to talk to their doctor about how they can protect their families.”

Recently Bexsero, became the first vaccine available in Canada to help protect against MenB disease.

“As a survivor of meningitis, I know first-hand the challenges that other survivors and their families go through,” said Shayne Smith, motivational speaker and meningitis survivor. “The availability of a new vaccine to help prevent such a disease is great news for all Canadian families.”

At four months, Smith was diagnosed with meningococcal disease, and given only a two per cent chance of surviving. The infection left him with multiple amputations. Now at 25 years of age, Shayne is an inspiration to many. Despite his challenges growing up, Shayne has become a top athlete in wheelchair basketball and competed in the Canadian Junior team in 2005 and 2009.

* Meningococcal serogroup B, known as MenB, is one of five main types of meningococcal bacteria (A, B, C, W and Y)

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