New Meningitis Case Raises Concerns, Questions Among Parents

Wednesday, April 21st 2010, 8:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Damin Hampton is eastern Oklahoma's latest victim of bacterial meningitis. His mother says it happened fast.

"I mean it moves so quickly. I mean my son was fine at five o'clock. And at 9:30, his legs were dead," said Alicia Hampton, Damin's mother.

4/21/10 Related Story Seven-Month-Old Baby In Tulsa Hospital With Meningitis

Now, worried parents are asking a lot of questions about meningitis.

Many have asked why do meningitis victims have to have their limbs amputated?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bacterial meningitis causes blood poisoning and infects the spinal fluid. Once the blood flow stops, the limbs essentially die and there's no way they can be healed.

Another question many parents have been asking, how is the disease transmitted?

The CDC says it can only be passed by a direct exchange of respiratory or throat secretions, such as coughing or kissing. It cannot be passed by casual contact or breathing the same air as a victim. And the bacteria can only live a few minutes outside the body.

That leads us to vaccines.

The CDC says children between 2 and 10 years old should be vaccinated if they are in a high risk group such as traveling to countries where meningitis is prevalent, have an immune system disorder, or have a damaged spleen.

But it recommends children 11 to 18 years old should definitely be vaccinated, especially if they are going to live in a dorm.

4/15/2010 Related story: Family Reports Progress For Oologah Meningitis Survivor