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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am chatting on-line with a friend who is young, has no children, certainly hasn't thought about vaxes, and whose mother works in a doctor's office. So take the information I'm providing here with a grain of salt.<br><br>
She just told me that she had a meningitis vaccine 4 years ago when she was 17 because there was a big outbreak here in the Netherlands (or perhaps throughout Europe?) and lots of teenagers died. She says one boy in her class went into a coma because he didn't have the shot.<br><br>
I'd be curious to learn more about this outbreak, since these stories usually have several ways of being interpreted, like the mumps outbreak in the midwest last year.<br><br>
I'd love to be able to provide some countevidence about this outbreak, if there is some.<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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Sarah, it's true. I can't remember if it was all over Europe, but at least I know that here in Holland and Belgium vax were done on children from 12/14 months until I believe 18 yrs. Government decided to organize this because of an outbreak of meningitis and a general increase in diseases related to this virus in the previous years. The vax is now a permanent one in the complete vaccination program here. Because of the outbreak, they organized two days in every "gemeente", one day for smaller kids and one for the teens. Most of them went in to get the shot, it was done at large gyms or schools etc. I'm sure this was very impressive in the memory of kids, since it was so massive.<br>
I do know some children died or almost died from the meningitis, it was a massive operation to vax all the kids so the government took this outbreak very serious. I don't remember all the details since it was a few years ago, but if you google (if you read Dutch, I'm not sure) for "meningokokken" I'm sure a lot will pop up.
 

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This outbreak seemed to happen only in that area though, as I have not heard of it in southern Europe. You have to remember that in Europe we live A LOT closer toghether, therefore mass vacinations do occure from time to time as the virus's travel a lot quicker.<br>
It also depends on the virus outbreak, the meningities you are mentioning is a bacterial type so an outbreak happens a lot quicker, with a viral meningities the chances of that are a lot less.<br>
This would still give me no reason to vaccinate against it, unless my child is in immediate danger, like the children in the Netherlands and Belgium were at the time.<br><br>
Sorry I can not provide any links but I am sure you can find something with google.
 

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First of all, there's no such thing as a "meningitis outbreak".<br>
Secondly, I don't know how public health works in Europe, but in the US, the CDC sends info packets to the media to scare the crap out of everyone whenever they want to increase vaccine uptake. So I bet that's what happened over there.<br>
They had a vax they wanted everyone to get, so they asked the hospitals to call them whenever someone had X disease, they show up, take some info, call the news with the "breaking story", and conclude with the segments with information on how to get the lifesaving-vaccine.<br>
In the US, it's called the (seriously...I'm not making this up) "7 step recipe to increase demand for vaccines".<br><br>
ETA:<br>
Here's the US version...this is mostly about influenza, but they use it for bacterial meningitis, too...<br><br>
(bolding and colors and whatnot mine)<br><br><a href="http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/36/2004_flu_nowak.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upl..._flu_nowak.pdf</a><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Getting Ready for 2004-2005:<br>
Lessons (Re-)Learned<br>
[Including the <b>Seven-Step Recipe for<br>
Generating Interest in,<br>
and Demand for</b>, Flu<br><b>(<span style="color:#FF0000;">or any other</span>) Vaccination</b>]</td>
</tr></table></div>
<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">2.Dominant strain and/or initial cases of disease are:<br>
–Associated with severe illness and/or outcomes<br>
–Occur among people for whom influenza is not generally perceived to cause serious complications (e.g., children, healthy adults, healthy seniors)<br>
–<b>In cities and communities with significant <span style="color:#FF0000;"><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">media outlets</span></i> (e.g., daily <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">newspapers</span></i>, major <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">TV stations</span></i></span>)</b><br>
3.Medical experts and public health authorities <b>publicly (e.g., via <span style="color:#FF0000;">media</span>) state <span style="color:#FF0000;"><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">concern</span></i></span> and <span style="color:#FF0000;"><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">alarm</span></i></span></b> (and <span style="color:#FF0000;"><b><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">predict dire outcomes</span></i></b></span>)–<b>and urge</b> influenza <b>vaccination.</b><br>
4.The combination of ‘2’ and ‘3’ result in:<br>
A.<b>Significant <span style="color:#FF0000;"><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">media interest and attention</span></i></span></b><br>
B<b>.<i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Framing</span></i> of the flu season in terms that <span style="color:#FF0000;"><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">motivate behavior</span></i></span> (e.g., as “<i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">very severe</span></i>,” “<i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">more severe than last or past years</span></i>,” “<i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">deadly</span></i>”)</b><br><br>
5.Continued reports (e.g., from health officials and <b>media</b>) that influenza is causing severe illness and/or affecting lots of people–helping <b><i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">foster the perception</span></i> that many people are susceptible</b> to a bad case of influenza.<br>
6.<b><span style="color:#FF0000;">Visible/tangible examples of the seriousness of the illness (e.g., <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">pictures of children</span></i>, families of those affected coming forward) andpeople getting vaccinated (the first to <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">motivate</span></i>, the latter to <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">reinforce</span></i></span></b>)</td>
</tr></table></div>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your response, mamakay. That 7-step thing is pretty bad. Amazing that they're so up-front about their methods.<br><br>
I'm curious, though, about your statement that there's no such thing as a meningitis outbreak. Do you mean that there's never a time that a whole bunch of people get it at once and it snowballs into significantly more cases than usual for that time of year? I'd like to learn more about what you mean.<br><br>
I hate it when I encounter this type of situation because, while I wouldn't give my child this or any other vaccine, I don't have the history of the particular situation and have trouble countering examples like "there was a boy at my school who ended up in a coma, so that was very scary." I can't prove that this was one of those media scares, and I can't prove that there wasn't really an increase in disease, and I can't prove that the vaccine drive didn't actually make an impact, and I don't know enough about this specific disease or vax to say categorically that it wasn't necessary or helpful to this population. I find that it this type of situation, I feel that my arguments sound weak and that the other person leaves the conversation feeling like I'm a wacko.<br><br>
Oh well.
 
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