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The world’s three largest meningitis patient groups – the Meningitis Trust, Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis UK – who have worked tirelessly in the fight against meningitis over the past three decades, have jointly written an article in the influential medical journal Vaccine, exploring the critical role the patient groups play within the UK in the fight against meningitis and outlining the work that they have done to prevent or alleviate suffering.
The article, entitled ‘Towards a Meningitis-free world, can we eliminate meningococcal meningitis? Contribution of the meningitis patient groups,’ explores three areas – continued research; demonstrating burden; and awareness-raising and advocacy – and gives examples of the work that has been done or is on-going in each area.Research relates to developing and improving vaccines, and to improving outcomes for forms of meningitis that are not vaccine preventable.
Demonstrating burden – showing the real impact of meningitis from a human perspective – highlights the need for vaccines to prevent the disease. Lives are saved by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and promoting the need for fast action, whilst advocacy can bring about change to improve the quality of life of those who have been affected by the disease.
Awareness raising and advocacy also have the wider benefit of creating a climate in which people recognise the need for vaccines.The article concludes that the UK, given its long history of pioneering public health interventions against meningitis, could be a test case for a new MenB vaccine.
With central procurement and provision of vaccines, an established healthcare infrastructure, local expertise and consistently high vaccine uptake, together with a capacity for intensive monitoring and surveillance, it is well placed to demonstrate to the world the potential for a new vaccine to eliminate MenB disease.
Vaccine is published by Elsevier and is the official journal of the International Society for Vaccines and the Edward Jenner Society. For more information see www.elsevier.com/locate/vaccine please note there is a £30 fee to download the report.
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