A collaborative effort of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired And Texas Commission for the Blind Winter 2003 volume 8, No, 1




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preview/mmwrhtml/00041736.htm> Those who did not receive Hib vaccine and who are younger than five years should receive the vaccine. For those age 5 years and older, Hib vaccine is not routinely recommended.


The CDC National Immunization Program (NIP) has set up a hotline that will advise persons with cochlear implants to receive age-appropriate high-risk pneumococcal vaccinations. In addition, they will be able to answer questions related to immunization issues or refer calls to immunization experts at NIP if needed.


The Hotline numbers are:

English 1-800-232-2522 (M-F, 8a -11p)

Spanish 1-800-232-0233 (M-F, 8a-11p)

TTY 1-800-243-7889 (M-F 10a-10p)

The hotline is closed on weekends and federal holidays.


Reporting Cases of Meningitis in Cochlear Implant Recipients

We encourage you to report cases of meningitis in cochlear implant recipients. Please call 1-877-CDC-HEAR to report cases so that they can be included in the CDC-FDA study. You can also report cases directly to the device manufacturer or you can report them to MedWatch, the FDA’s voluntary reporting program. You may submit reports to MedWatch one of four ways: online at by telephone at 1-800-FDA-1088; by FAX at 1-800-FDA-0178; or by mail to MedWatch, Food and Drug Administration, HF-2, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.


FDA Contact: Nancy Pressly
Office of Surveillance and Biometrics (HFZ-510)

1350 Piccard Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850

Fax at 301-594-2968, or by e-mail at

Additionally, a voice mail message may be left at 301-594-0650 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.


Meningitis

By Kate Moss, Family Specialist, TSBVI,

Texas Deafblind Outreach

Originally printed in the Spring 2001 SEE/HEAR


The 2001 Texas Deafblind Census data indicates that meningitis is one of the leading causes of deafblindness in our state. Recently in Texas, there have been several scares related to outbreaks of meningitis. What is this disease and what are some of the concerns associated with it?


First of all, meningitis is not the same condition as encephalitis, although they both occur in the brain. Meningitis is the inflammation of the tissue lining of the brain and spinal cord, the meninges. Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain itself. There are two broad categories of meningitis, viral and bacterial.


Bacterial meningitis is more uncommon, but it can be extremely serious. Often it is fatal, especially if not treated immediately. Those who survive this type of meningitis often have a severe disability as a result. Brain injury and deafness are two common results of this type of meningitis. Babies in the USA are typically vaccinated for one type of bacteria that causes meningitis, the haempohilus influenzae type b (Hib) strain. Because of this vaccination program, this type of meningitis has practically disappeared in this country. The other two types of meningitis are meningococcal and pneumococcal. Both of these bacteria are very common. In fact, this bacteria is carried at any one time by around 10-25% of the population. It lives on the back of the throat and nose. Usually these bacteria do not cause any real problems.


A person who becomes sick with bacterial meningitis needs immediate medical treatment. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial meningitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, high fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. “Symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.” (CDC Website, 2001.) A diagnosis is usually made with a spinal tap.


Viral meningitis is usually not as dangerous as bacterial meningitis, although the symptoms often appear to be the same. About 90% of cases of viral meningitis are caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. Herpes viruses and the mumps virus can also cause viral meningitis. There is no treatment for viral meningitis. People usually get well on their own if they get plenty of bed rest. They are simply given plenty of fluids and also medicine to treat the fever and headaches. Viral meningitis usually does not result in other disabling conditions and is rarely fatal.


A person may have meningitis more than one time, although this is rare. There are vaccines for some types of meningitis. Someone showing any symptoms of meningitis should immediately see a doctor who can determine the type of meningitis present and begin treatment. Even with viral meningitis, severe problems can result from dehydration, especially in children and babies.


Both types of meningitis are spread through contact with respiratory and bodily secretions. That is why one of the best preventions for meningitis is regular and thorough hand washing. It is usually not spread through casual contact like sneezing or coughing.


When a person has meningitis, there is usually a long-term recovery period. There are also some problems that can be expected immediately following hospitalization for this illness and may disappear in time. In children we see many behavioral changes that may be due, in part, to the trauma of being in the hospital. These include babyish or clingy behavior, bed-wetting, temper tantrums, problems sleeping at night, and forgetting recently learned skills. There are other symptoms, however, that may last longer, or even remain permanently. These include general fatigue, recurring headaches, problems concentrating, short-term memory loss, clumsiness, giddiness, balance problems, depression, violent temper outbursts, mood swings, bouts of aggression, learning difficulties, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), joint soreness or stiffness, visual problems such as double vision and cortical visual impairment, and the possibility of deafness, brain damage, or seizures as mentioned earlier. “It cannot be emphasized enough that some patients may not experience any of these complications and will make a fast and problem free recovery. However, it must be recognized that meningitis can cause many after effects which MAY affect some sufferers.” (Meningitis Foundation of American, 2001.)


References/Resources

Meningitis Foundation of America Inc.

7155 Shadeland Station, Suite 190

Indianapolis, Indiana 46256-3922

Telephone: (800) 668-1129

Outside North America: (317) 595-6383

Web:
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