9:57 PM / Wednesday November 30, 2022

8 Dec 2017

This holiday season talk to your doctor about meningitis vaccination

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
December 8, 2017 Category: Health Posted by:


Jamie Schanbaum was in her first semester at the University of Texas when one night in early November 2008, she started not feeling well. She was cold, vomiting and tired.

She thought she had the flu. She didn’t.

“I was in a lot of pain, shivering down to my bones, and my hands and feet hurt to touch anything. As the night went on, I felt worse and worse until I could barely walk,” Schanbaum remembers. “Luckily, my sister called the next morning to offer me a ride to school and I asked her to take me to the hospital instead.”

In 24 hours, Schanbaum went from being healthy and free-spirited to being in the hospital, eventually spending the holidays in a semi-medicated coma. At just 20 years old, she had contracted meningococcal disease, a type of bacterial meningitis, an uncommon but potentially deadly disease.[1]

Schanbaum didn’t leave the hospital for seven months. During that time, she developed a rash that is a tell-tale sign of meningococcal septicemia, or blood poisoning.[2] Her limbs changed color from red to purple to black. Ultimately, she had to have both legs below the knee and fingers on both her hands amputated.

“When I got out of the hospital, I didn’t recognize myself. I had lost almost all of my hair, lost a lot of weight and was in a wheelchair due to my amputations,” she said.

Once she healed and was fitted for prosthetics, she started competitive cycling. In 2011, she won a gold medal in the USA Cycling Paralympic Road National Championships.

Despite her impressive achievements as a para-athlete, her real passion is educating parents and young people about meningitis. Today Schanbaum is a spokesperson for GSK, a meningitis advocate and founder of a nonprofit organization, The J.A.M.I.E. Group.

“I learned about meningitis the hard way and it changed the course of my entire life,” she said. “I want to share with others the information I didn’t have and encourage them to talk to their doctors about meningitis vaccination.”

Did You Know:

In the U.S., about one in 10 people infected with meningitis will die, while one in five survivors will suffer long-term consequences, which may include deafness, nervous system problems, brain damage or loss of limbs.[3]Early symptoms may appear mild – similar to those of a cold or the flu – but can progress quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours.[4]In the U.S., while most (>70 percent) young people have received the vaccine that helps protect against four groups of meningitis (serogroups A, C, W and Y), to date, more than 90 percent of 16- to 23-year-olds have not received the meningitis B vaccine.[5]Serogroup B meningitis causes approximately 30 percent of U.S. cases of meningococcal disease.[6]Two different types of vaccines are needed to help protect against the five vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis.Vaccination may not protect all recipients.Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as bacterial meningitis, are continuing to impact our communities, including in our schools and on college campuses. Young adults are at increased risk for meningitis because they often live, work and play in settings that foster close contact.[7] With many teens and young adults on holiday break from high school and college, now is an ideal time to set up medical appointments to talk to their doctors about the vaccinations they may need.

Visit for more information.

[1] CDC. Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. April 2014. Available at Page 1, Paragraph 1, Line 1.

[2] CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Signs and Symptoms. June 2017. Available at Page 1, Paragraph 4, Lines 1-13.

[3] CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Technical and Clinical Information. July 2017. Available at  Page 1, Paragraphs 3-4.

[4] Cleveland Clinic. Disease & Conditions: Bacterial Meningitis. No date. Available at: Page 1, Paragraph 5, Lines 1-4.

[5] GSK, data on file.

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. April 2014. Available at: Page 1, Paragraph 3, Line 2.

[7] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Risk Factors. March 2017. Available at Page 1, Paragraphs 1-2.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


Message from Catherine Hicks Philadelphia Branch NAACP President and Publisher of the SUN on passing of former PA Senator T. Milton Street

November 29, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email The Philadelphia Branch NAACP and the Philadelphia SUN family, is saddened to hear...


Jeffries wins historic bid to lead House Dems after Pelosi

November 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By LISA MASCARO WASHINGTON (AP) — Emboldened House Democrats ushered in a new...

Week In Review

Biden admin to ask high court to take up student debt plan

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill...


Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to...


How to shop for the right Medicare plan and avoid costly mistakes

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Inflation is putting the squeeze on all Americans, but no one is...

Color Of Money

Top financial to-dos to end the year strong and prepare for 2023

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT  The holidays are a time full of good cheer, but not necessarily...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff