The campaign aims to encourage parents to know about meningococcal disease, a rare but devastating and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. Early diagnosis and treatment is key, so KnowMeningococcal will help parents understand the signs and symptoms to look out for as well as how to help protect their children against the disease.
The campaign is being launched after research commissioned by GSK which revealed whilst 93 percent of Australian parents believe that they know what meningococcal disease is, on average 41 percent of Australian parents are not aware of some of the more specific symptoms of the disease. Furthermore, 22 percent misidentified the deadly bacterial infection as a type of cancer (2%), flu (16%) and even sunburn (4%).While almost half (46%) did not know that routine childhood vaccinations did not cover all strains of meningococcal disease.
Says Clarke on why she’s supporting the KnowMeningococcal campaign: “When it comes to my daughter, Kelsey Lee, like all parents all I want is for her to be healthy and happy. While I knew about meningococcal disease, it wasn’t until I met families affected by the disease that I realised how important it is as a parent to not only know the signs and symptoms to look out for, but also how to help protect against it.”
Whilst rare, meningococcal disease can progress rapidly – resulting in death within 24 hours or serious long-term disabilities, including brain damage, deafness and limb loss. Infants, young children and adolescents are most at risk, especially those under the age of four, and babies under 12 months have the highest risk, which is why it is something every parent needs to know more about.
Says Anne Belcher, general manager, GSK Australia: “While awareness of meningococcal disease is high, our research clearly shows the public still have limited understanding about the signs, symptoms and the risks the disease poses. In Australia, there are four main types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease yet most parents only know of one type and don’t realise that the rest of the strains aren’t covered by their routine vaccinations.
“That’s why we’re launching this campaign – as a healthcare company, we have a role to play in educating the communities in which we operate and helping to improve overall health understanding.”
Speak to your GP and visit KnowMeningococcal.com.au to learn more and sign up to help spread the word about meningococcal disease via a Thunderclap social pledge.