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For Release: March 16, 2010
Contact: Leslea Bennett-Webb or Larry Weatherford                                    
Office of Communications                                    

Situation Update No. 7 
Vaccine Clinics Scheduled for Oologah-Talala School

Officials from the Rogers County Health Department and Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today that clinics to provide meningococcal vaccine for students attending the Oologah-Talala public schools have been scheduled for this Friday, March 19, from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. at the Oologah –Talala elementary school gymnasium.

Children who previously received antibiotics for disease prevention in the past week are still recommended to get the vaccine. The antibiotics dispensed to students, school staff and close contacts of disease are necessary to stop the spread of meningococcal bacteria. Vaccination provides longer-term protection against future exposures.

State and local public health officials are currently investigating seven cases of meningococcal disease among students in the Oologah-Talala schools. Two children have died from the disease. Health officials continue to investigate possible contacts and possible cases.

Since first notified about the cases last week, health officials have provided preventative antibiotics for more than 1,000 students and others in the community.

Only persons who have had close, personal contact to a person with a meningococcal infection have an increased risk of developing the disease.  Less than one percent of persons exposed to the bacteria develop symptoms. The general public is not at risk.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease may appear two to ten days after infection, but usually appear within three to four days.  People ill with meningococcal septicemia may have fever, nausea, vomiting, and a rash.  People that are ill with meningitis will have fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck.  It is important to seek care from a physician as soon as possible if these symptoms appear. If parents are unsure, they should still seek medical attention to protect their children.

While a meningococcal vaccine is available for protection against four of the five disease-causing strains of meningococcal disease for persons ages 2 through 55 years of age, it is routinely recommended by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as only for children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age. Children and adolescents in that age group can get the vaccine through the Vaccines for Children Program, a federally-funded state-operated program that provides vaccines at no cost to health care providers to administer to eligible children.  More than 750 clinics and doctor’s offices in Oklahoma participate in the Vaccines for Children Program, including all the county health departments and Indian Health Service and tribal clinics and many private doctors. To find a clinic or doctor near you that participates in the program, call your county health department.

For more information on meningococcal disease, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at www.health.ok.gov and http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/faq.html .




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