New website to help fight meningitis worldwide
27 February 2006
Gloucestershire, England. The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations
(COMO), a worldwide network of meningitis and children's health
organisations, has launched a website to help the fight against meningitis.
The site (www.comoonline.org)
provides information on COMO and its local member groups and support
services, as well as resources for those interested in founding their own
local organisations to fight against meningitis. This includes a toolkit
available in seven languages.
"The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations was founded for the sharing
of best practices, information and research across borders," said Philip
Kirby, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust and President of COMO. "The
launch of our website will not only strengthen our existing COMO network,
but expand and inspire additional efforts to combat meningitis both locally
The website features a snapshot of the "Establishing a Meningitis
Organisation Tool Kit," a product of the COMO member organisations' shared
experiences that will help facilitate the establishment of new organisations
to help raise the global profile of meningitis. The complete Tool Kit
provides case studies illustrating how different local organisations have
been developed and poses important questions to consider when establishing a
local group. The website also consists of: COMO member organisation
profiles; information on upcoming events, activities and programmes; and
personal stories from people around the world who have been impacted by
Established organisations or individuals who are committed to the
elimination of meningitis and/or provide support to those affected by the
disease are encouraged to apply for COMO membership through the site and
request access to the complete Tool Kit, which is available in English,
Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Mandarin.
COMO was established at the first World Conference of Meningitis
Organisations (WCMO) in September 2004 and currently is comprised of 14
organisations from 13 countries around the world. For more information,
Initial support for the COMO Web site has been provided by Wyeth
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations' mission is to assist member
organisations to be sustainable, identifiable and influential sources for
information and support services for those people affected by meningitis in
their regions and united in their endeavours globally through their
membership of COMO, which is committed to the elimination of meningitis and
The founding members include leaders from meningitis and children's
health organisations from around the world, including Association Audrey
(France), Fundacion Illyria Velasco Carranza (Mexico), GAVI - PneumoADIP
(USA), Meningitis Centre (Australia), Meningitis Foundation of America
(USA), Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada (Canada), Meningitis
Research Foundation (UK and Ireland), Meningitis Trust (Ireland), Meningitis
Trust (New Zealand), Meningitis Trust (UK), Moige (Italy), Philippine
Foundation for Vaccination (Philippines), Pneumo-Mening (Brazil) and
Pneumo-Mening Centre (Taiwan).
Meningitis and septicaemia
Meningitis can be caused by bacteria (e.g., Haemophilus influenzae type
b, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis), as well as viruses.
Some bacteria that cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the
brain) can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning). Many people who have a
meningococcal or a pneumococcal infection have both meningitis and
septicaemia, although some have meningitis or septicaemia alone.
The early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia include fever, vomiting,
headache, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, drowsiness, and stomach,
joint or muscle pain. These symptoms may not all appear at once and may be
accompanied by other symptoms such as a stiff neck and dislike of bright
Patients suffering from meningococcal septicaemia often develop a non-
blanching rash, called a haemorrhagic rash. Septicaemia can develop quickly
and in severe cases, the rash may spread as you watch it. It is important to
realise that a rash may not always occur, especially with pneumococcal
Both septicaemia and meningitis have high fatality rates.
Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics,
although some bacteria are developing resistance to these antibiotics. There
also are several effective vaccines available to help protect infants, young
children and adults against some causes of meningitis, such as S.
pneumoniae, N. meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae.
For further information please contact:
Email: info@COMOonline.org for
general questions and those related to membership. Website:
Source: Confederation of Meningitis Organisations