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Meningococcal Meningitis Survivor and TV Personality Amy Purdy and Pfizer Launch Take Action Against Meningitis

New Campaign Encourages Parents to Take a Pledge to Talk to Their Healthcare Provider About Helping to Protect Their Teen or Young Adult from Meningococcal Meningitis

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 8:00am
EST

Paralympic®* medalist and world class snowboarder Amy Purdy and her mother, Sheri, have teamed up with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) to launch Take Action Against Meningitis to encourage parents to learn more about how they can help protect their teens and young adults from meningococcal meningitis. One type of invasive meningococcal disease, meningococcal meningitis, is a bacterial infection, which causes inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.1

At TakeActionAgainstMeningitis.com, parents can take a pledge to talk to their healthcare provider about meningococcal meningitis protection. For each pledge, Pfizer will donate $1 – up to $20,000 - to Adaptive Action Sports, the not-for-profit organization Amy co-founded to help create opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to get involved in action sports.

Amy, a meningococcal meningitis survivor, lost both of her legs below the knee as a result of the disease when she was 19. Pursuing her dream of becoming a world champion snowboarder, Amy medaled at the 2014 Paralympic Games and followed that with a second-place finish on TV’s “Dancing with the Stars®**.” Today, Amy travels the country sharing her inspirational story and encouraging others to overcome obstacles and shape the life they want.

“We all have challenges and many are surmountable. Whether it's competing in the Paralympics or on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ I'm still finding new ways to challenge my own ideas about what I think I may be capable of accomplishing,” said Amy Purdy. “My mom and I are excited to be part of Take Action Against Meningitis and are challenging parents to learn more about meningococcal meningitis. By going toTakeActionAgainstMeningitis.com, you can take a pledge to talk to your healthcare provider about meningococcal meningitis protection.”

There are five common forms of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease -- A, C, Y, W and B.2 Early symptoms, such as headache, nausea and vomiting can be misinterpreted as the flu, but invasive meningococcal disease can lead to death within 24 hours.3,4 For those who survive, it can cause permanent disabilities.5,6 Adolescents and young adults are the primary carriers of the meningococcal bacteria, meaning they may harbor the pathogen in the back of the throat, even if it does not cause them to get sick.7,8 Typical teen and young adult behaviors, such as close-quartered living, sharing drinks and utensils, and kissing, can promote the transmission of the bacteria.9

“Until 2014, there was no vaccine to help protect against invasive meningococcal group B disease in the United States, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of all cases,10” said Richard Chung M.D., Director of Adolescent Medicine at Duke University. “Now there are vaccinations for groups A, C, Y, and W, and for group B. I’d encourage teens and their parents to talk to their healthcare provider for more information.”

Sheri Purdy, Amy’s mom, remembers the day 15 years ago when Amy called to tell her she wasn’t feeling well. Within 24 hours, Amy was hospitalized and doctors were not sure she would make it.

“While not all meningococcal meningitis patients’ stories are as extreme as Amy’s, we feel blessed to still have our daughter,” said Sheri Purdy. “This is why Amy and I have partnered with Pfizer on Take Action Against Meningitis to encourage parents to take a pledge to talk to their healthcare provider about helping to protect their teens against meningococcal meningitis.”

For more information, talk to your healthcare provider or go to TakeActionAgainstMeningitis.com and take the pledge.

About Meningococcal Disease

There are five common forms of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease -- A, C, Y, W and B.2 One type of invasive meningococcal disease, meningococcal meningitis, is a bacterial infection, which causes inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.1Early symptoms can be misinterpreted as the flu, but invasive meningococcal disease can lead to death within 24 hours.3,4 For those who survive, it can cause permanent disabilities.5,6

Meningococcal disease affects all age groups in the U.S., but incidence is highest among infants younger than one year, adolescents and young adults, and the elderly.11

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world®

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.

 

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* PARALYMPIC® is a registered trademark owned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

** DANCING WITH THE STARS® is a registered trademark owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

 

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal Disease: signs & symptoms. http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/symptoms.html. Last Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed October 27, 2014.

2 Pinto VB, Burden R, Wagner A, Moran EE, Lee C. The Development of an Experimental Multiple Serogroups Vaccine for Neisseria meningitidis. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(11): 1-10.

3 Mayo Clinic website. Diseases and conditions: meningitis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/disease-conditions/meningitis/basics/prevention/con-20019713?p=1. Published March 19, 2013. Accessed October 27, 2014.

4 Thompson MJ, Ninis N, Perera R, et al. Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet. 2006; 367(9508): 397-403.

5 Borg J, Christie D, Coen PG, Pooy R, Viner RM. Outcomes of meningococcal disease in adolescence: prospective, matched-cohort study. Pediatrics. 2009;123: e502-e509.

6 Vyse A, Anonychuk A, Jakel A, Wieffer H, Nadel S. The burden and impact of severe and long-term sequelae of meningococcal disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2013;11(6): 597-604.

7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help Protect Your Preteen and Teen Against Meningococcal Disease. http://www.cdc.gov/features/meningococcal/. Last updated April 21, 2014. Accessed October 27, 2014.

8 MacNeil J, Cohn A. Chapter 8: Meningococcal disease. In: Roush SW, McIntyre L, Baldy LM. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 5th ed. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html#f5. Accessed October 27, 2014.

9 Tully J, Viner RM, Coen FG, et al. Risk and protective factors for meningococcal disease in adolescents: matched cohort study. BMJ. 2006;232(7539): 445-450.

10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance (ABCs) Report Emerging Infections Program Network - Neisseria meningitidis, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/abcs/reports-findings/survreports/mening12.html. Accessed October 27, 2014.

11 Cohn A, MacNeil JR, Harrison LH, et al. Changes in Neisseria meningitidis disease epidemiology in the United States, 1998-2007: implications for meningococcal disease. Clin Infect Dis. 2010; 50: 184-191.

***This press release has accompanying multimedia that can be accessed by clicking here.

 

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