Gold Medal-winning para-athlete, meningitis survivor encouraging teens to get vaccinated

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Meningitis survivor and Gold Medal-winning para-athlete Jamie Schanbaum is sharing her story in order to encourage teens and young adults across the country to get vaccinated against several types of meningitis.

According to the CDC, meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

In 2008, Schanbaum was only 20 years old when she was diagnosed with meningococcal septicemia while attending college at the University of Texas at Austin.

Meningococcal septicemia is similar to meningitis, but instead of infiltrating the brain and spinal cord, the bacteria infects the blood.

In the summer of 2009, the Texas State Senate passed Bill 819, a.k.a. The Jamie Schanbaum Act, requiring meningitis ACWY vaccinations of college students.

There are two different types of vaccines available to help prevent the five vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis.

The CDC recommends all 11 to 12-year-olds should get a single dose of a MenACWY vaccine. CDC recommends a booster dose at age 16. Teens and young adults (16 through 23-year-olds) may also get a MenB vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old.

Click here to learn more about the CDC vaccine guidelines.

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