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Sheldon Souray hits the mark with a simple message: Know the facts about meningitis protection Saint John NB

Sheldon Souray, star defensemen for the Edmonton Oilers, has taken countless shots since he first picked up a hockey stick as a youngster. While he u ...

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Sheldon Souray hits the mark with a simple message: Know the facts about meningitis protection

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(NC)-Sheldon Souray, star defensemen for the Edmonton Oilers, has taken countless shots since he first picked up a hockey stick as a youngster. While he usually shoots to win hockey games, recently he took a shot for meningitis awareness.

Mr. Souray is part of a team that recently traveled to sporting events throughout the country handing out water bottles and also informing parents and children alike to know all facts about how the disease can be prevented.

"It's a simple message," said Mr. Souray. "Children playing sports should have their own water bottle and avoid sharing it with their teammates."

"It's also important that Canadians know that many strains of meningitis are preventable with a vaccine," said Mr. Souray. "Spreading awareness encourages parents to take precautions and seek advice about how to protect their children from this devastating disease."

Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious bacterial infection that strikes approximately 300 people in Canada every year, and can result in meningitis. The bacteria that causes the infection can be spread from one person to another through close contact involving secretions from the nose or throat, such as kissing, sharing eating utensils or water bottles.

Five strains of meningococcal disease, A, B, C, Y, and W-135, account for almost all cases in Canada. Four of these strains, A, C, Y, and W-135, can be prevented through immunization, but most childhood immunization programs only vaccinate against the C strain.

"Immunizing against only one of the four vaccine preventable strains is a missed opportunity, especially now that we have a safe and effective vaccine called Menactra that can protect against all four preventable strains of the bacteria," said Dr. Dion Neame., Chief of Pediatrics at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital and Medical Advisor for the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada, who also took part in the events. "When parents speak to their physician about meningitis immunization for their children and teens, they should ensure they are getting the broadest protection possible."

For more information on how you can help protect yourself and your loved ones against meningitis, please visit www.meningitis.ca or www.menactra.ca.

Credit: www.newscanada.com