Every once in a while, a story crops up in the news that reminds us how important vaccines are. This past week, Katie Dobrow, a teenager from Southern California, shared her story…
In February Katie thought she was coming down with the flu. She awoke up with a bad headache, and bruising appeared all over her body. Her mother rushed her to the hospital, where she was told Katie had meningococcal meningitis.
Katie is one of roughly 1,000 people per year in the U.S. who contract meningococcal disease. While rare, the consequences of infection can be devastating.
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by a bacterial infection that can move very quickly – even in otherwise healthy young adults – and is usually severe. In some cases, death can occur within only a few hours. For those who survive, it can cause permanent disability.
The past few months have been a tough battle for Katie physically. Her limbs had to be amputated because of the infection, and she said she’s been in a lot of pain. But despite the challenges, Katie is keeping a positive attitude, and her parents are encouraging people to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease.
Two doses of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) are routinely recommended for adolescents. One dose is given at 11-12 and another at 16.
In Texas, all incoming college students under 30 attending class at a Texas campus are required by law to receive the meningitis vaccine. This is because the bacteria can spread more easily in close quarters, and as a result college students living in dormitories are at a higher risk of infection.
Please take a moment to listen to Katie’s story: