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New meningitis vaccinations offered

Daily Staff Report

EAGLE COUNTY – Eagle County Health & Human Services will give new meningitis vaccinations following guidelines recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following high-risk groups are eligible:• 11- and 12-year-olds• Previously unvaccinated students entering high school• College freshmen living in dormitories• Military personnel, frequent travelers and people with weakened immune systems”Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain,” said Kristin Diedrich, the county’s public health nurse. “Bacterial meningitis is a very serious infection which can quickly become a life-threatening disease.” Meningitis is difficult to diagnose and treat because it often begins with symptoms mistaken for other common illnesses. However, unlike other infections, meningitis can worsen rapidly and kill a healthy young adult in 48 hours or less, Diedrich said. While 10 percent to 12 percent of people with meningitis die, up to 15 percent of survivors may suffer long term or permanent disabilities including hearing loss, limb amputation or brain damage. A vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of getting a serious infection, Diedrich said. Vaccinations will be given during walk-in immunization clinics held weekly at the county’s offices in Avon, Eagle and El Jebel.The cost of vaccination depends on insurance status for persons under 19. The vaccine costs $100 for adults, said Jill Hunsaker, the county’s public health manager. Call 328-8840 for more information.Vail, Colorado


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