Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 - CoMO
CoMO Issues Global Call-to-Action for Citizens to "Join Hands" Against Meningitis

PERTH, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire) - The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) has designated Saturday, 24 April 2010, as the second annual World Meningitis Day, in order to raise global awareness of this widespread and often devastating condition, help prevent future meningitis cases and improve support for those dealing with meningitis-related after-effects.

Meningitis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi(1a, 2a, 2b). While viral meningitis is generally a mild condition, bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening, even in previously healthy individuals, and can also be associated with septicaemia, a serious infection of the bloodstream(1a, 3a, 3b, 4, 5a).

Survivors of meningitis and septicaemia can be left with life-long disabilities including brain damage, limb loss, blindness, and deafness(5b). Although people of all ages can get meningitis, infants, children, and adolescents are at an increased risk(1b).

"Despite the availability of proven vaccines, meningitis and septicaemia unnecessarily kill and maim thousands of people around the world every year(6)," said CoMO president Bruce Langoulant. "For survivors and their families, the effects can be devastating. In today's world, this is totally unacceptable. It is vital that everyone has access to available vaccines, information on the signs and symptoms of the disease and, for those who have been affected, that they and their families receive quality care and support."

CoMO calls on people worldwide to "join hands" virtually to show their support for meningitis awareness and prevention, and display solidarity with those affected by the condition. To join hands, please visit

"Meningitis is a particularly frightening condition because certain forms of it can lead to death within hours of the first symptoms, which are non-specific and closely resemble the flu(7a, 8a)," said Lulu Bravo, M.D., CoMO Governing Council member and Executive Director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination. "By continuing to educate the public and medical community about meningitis, its symptoms and best methods of treatment and prevention, we will help save countless lives."

A number of vaccines have been licensed around the world to help prevent meningitis caused by meningococcal, pneumococcal, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria(7b, 9, 10). CoMO supports the use of all safe and effective vaccines as a means of reducing meningitis-related morbidity and mortality.

Thirteen CoMO members in ten countries around the globe are recognizing World Meningitis Day by raising awareness in the media, online, and in their local communities through events and fundraisers. To learn more about activities near you, please check for a CoMO member in your country by visiting

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Founded in September 2004, the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) is committed to the global elimination of meningitis and septicaemia. CoMO's mission is to assist member organisations to be sustainable, identifiable and influential sources for information and support services for those people affected by meningitis in their regions and to unite members in their endeavors globally through their membership in CoMO. CoMO works to facilitate resource and knowledge sharing between member organizations, and helps establish patient groups in countries where they do not exist. CoMO currently has 29 members in 20 countries.
Kimberly Wilkie
P: +61 407 513 245


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