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Recent meningitis deaths should keep residents alert

Staff Editor

Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Updated: Friday, September 25, 2009 00:09

Meningitis hits Tallahassee again. Everyone is still feeling the effects of the loss of Florida A&M University student Courtney Simms. Nearly two weeks later, another person has fallen victim to the disease.

Lawson Mayfield was diagnosed with bacterial spinal meningitis on Monday. She was a recent graduate from Maclay School, which is a college preparatory school. She had been accepted to the University of Central Florida, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. She loved horseback riding and was involved with the fall circuit of hunter-jumper competitions.

With the recent outbursts of influenza, H1N1 and now meningitis, it is absolutely imperative for people to be cognizant and cautious of what's in the air surrounding them. According to the Leon County Health Department, there are several different types of meningitis and the most recent case stemmed from a germ that many people often carry. The bacterium that triggered germ can also cause ear infection, sinus infection and even pneumonia.

If anyone has symptoms from those illnesses, the person should not hesitate to go to the doctor. A lot of people underestimate certain indications. Some think drinking a cold drink or over-the-counter medicine will help, but it won't. It is critical to get professionally examined. Don't take what seems like a mild cold lightly. The symptoms may transform into a severe illness.

In 2007, only one case of meningitis reported in Tallahassee. Two cases have hit the county within the last couple of weeks alone. And let's not even mention the hundreds of swine flu cases that have dominated both FSU and FAMU campuses.

Residents in Tallahassee, please check to see if your medical shots have been updated. It can happen to you. Be smart. Be aware. But most importantly, be realistic.

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5 comments Log in to Comment

Sat Oct 17 2009 23:09
The Meningitis Foundation of America (MFA), a national organization, would like the public and media to know that information is available regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of meningitis. MFA was founded by parents whose children were affected by meningitis. In addition to supporting vaccines and other means of preventing meningitis, the MFA provides information to educate the public and medical professionals so that the early diagnosis, treatment and, most important, prevention of meningitis, will save lives. Meningitis is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems such as deafness, brain damage and other disabilities, meningitis can sometimes result in loss of limbs. MFA would like to be considered as a news resource for the disease. For further information, visit the MFA website at

MFA is proud to announce the new C.I.S.S. Container Identification Scratch System
When we participate in sporting events or mingle at social gatherings it is possible to lose track of our water bottles and/or beverage cans, especially those served in containers that are very similar or identical to a container from which you are drinking. This carries the risk of transmitting an illness, such as meningitis or the common cold or flu. The Container Identification Scratch System, or C.I.S.S., is a fun way to make sure you always know your drink from others. Use it at sporting events or at family gatherings and reduce the waste from forgotten drinks. Simply scratch your number from the C.I.S.S. label and identify your drink. For more information please contact Bob Gold at and

Thank you,

Meningitis Foundation of America
P O Box 1818
El Mirage AZ 85335
480 270 2652
Join Hands against Meningitis

Your name
Sat Sep 26 2009 10:46
I agree. This article is definitely poorly written. First and foremost, there is nothing recent about meningitis, more awareness needs to be brought to this disease. The symptoms are flu-like, so most times it may be too late, because one usually thinks that the symptoms will pass. I WAS A VICTIM, I AM A SURVIVOR, AND THERE IS TREATMENT WHEN CAUGHT IN TIME!!!!! I ALMOST DIDNT SURVIVE IT!!!! I HAD THE RIGHT PERSON COME IN AND REACT THE RIGHT WAY AT THE RIGHT TIME!!!! The doctors said it was a miracle that not only did I survive, but had no disabilitating defects.
Fri Sep 25 2009 08:20
Sorry for the mistakes in my grammar. I guess I am typing too fast.
Fri Sep 25 2009 08:18
Vaccines are not the only way to avoid it. And, not everyone agrees the ethics of vaccines.

Bacteria evolve and vaccines are created as a prediction of the dominant strand. I caught a this summer bacteria that was deadly just last year and got treatment for it and I'm fine. The only bad part is becoming a carrier for something that might not effect you, but may serious effect someone else who doesn't know what to do when they see symptoms. But, the vaccines are shells (or other recognizable parts) of a bacteria so you can build antibodies for them so do you become a carrier after you got a vaccine?

The bigger question is where are these "uncurables" coming from and why are they all hitting at the same time? But, the death rate due to illness is still pretty low compared to the history of "outbreaks" and "epidemics".

On another note, newspapers have to be written at a certain level so everyone can understand them. Even the New York Times is written on a 10th grade reading level and they are geared towards a much more mature and "intelligent" group. This article is fine, It is vague, but so is the subject matter. I appreciate it for being a conversation starter and putting this very important topic on the everyone's so they can be inspired to look it up and find out more information.

'04 Alum
Fri Sep 25 2009 06:53
This article is terrible. It does not describe the symptoms nor how to avoid getting the disease. Honestly, by the time you've got symptoms, it's too late. There is no cure for bacterial meningitis. A recent alum, Streisand Sanders also died of bacterial meningitis a year after graduation.
The only way to avoid it is to get the vaccine. Every college student should get vaccinated, as it tends to affect young people in close communal quarters.

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