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Letters to the Editors

Amazed at number of car crashes not covered in media

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 5, 2001


Editor: I am absolutely amazed at the number of auto accidents I see in the Spring Hill area, some of which result in very serious, life-altering injuries. However, most of these accidents are never heard about.

Perhaps you could start writing a few sentences about each accident. If that is too much, start a weekly listing of all the accidents and injuries. This would serve as a reminder to everyone to be careful.

The newspaper is a very powerful medium. I am making this suggestion because I can't help but think perhaps a better awareness of all the accidents and injuries would help to heighten each driver's attention to the rules of the road.
-- Kathy Stanina, Spring Hill

Why is vaccine for bacterial meningitis not provided for our children?

Editor: After reading the article about the 13-year-old boy who died in Bradenton because of bacterial meningitis, and the numerous students who have contracted this disease, I am compelled to share additional information with the more than 121,000 residents in Hernando County.

Two years ago, I read about nine students contracting bacterial meningitis in Putnam County, one dying from this and many others suffering horribly. It prompted me to do extensive research on bacterial meningitis, mostly from the Internet and contacting several health departments on the west coast of Florida.

After reading many letters from parents (on the Internet and some in the newspaper), I was shocked to hear that bacterial meningitis can be prevented because there is a bacterial meningococcal vaccine available. This disease mostly affects adolescents 13 to 21 years of age, but also can affect older adults. I have read that in many cases when this disease progresses, limbs need to be amputated, and how those who have had this disease suffer horribly.

After researching what I thought to be enough information about this, I called the Hernando County Health Department and asked for the serum for my children and me, as I had one child in high school and several years from now will have another in high school. I was told the county does not have the serum, and could not get it, but to go to my family physician and obtain shots for my children.

I went to our family physician and was told it is not in our budget to obtain the serum. After much running around, I called WFLA-TV Eight On Your Side, and was told there haven't been enough fatalities on the west coast of Florida, and that they did not feel it was newsworthy enough to investigate my findings. At about the same time, our Health Department was supplying the serum for hepatitis shots to be given to students entering the seventh grade. These shots are a series of three given over a 4- to 6-month period. These shots are a requirement for students entering the seventh grade. Florida has a law that all immunizations for children are free.

Several weeks ago, upon hearing about the cases of bacterial meningitis in Tampa, I again called our Health Department and again was told the same information as two years ago: We do not have the serum, and there are not enough cases to do anything about it.

This time I called state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite and discussed it at length with her. Brown-Waite is a mom and grandmother and also has children that this disease could affect. I don't have any doubt about the love she has for children, hers or yours. It has been reported that Florida has more than 200 cases a year of bacterial meningitis, but these cases are isolated and appear not to be important enough to ensure every one of our children is immunized against this disease, even though the vaccine is available.

I also am disappointed in the reasoning of the Health Department, looking at the cases in which students have died from this, instead of preventing just one death.

Please write or e-mail Brown-Waite in Tallahassee, and flood our newspapers with your concerns about getting this vaccine put on the list for our children.

They should not die from an unnecessary illness that can be prevented.
-- Mary Jo Artura, Spring Hill

Share your views

The Hernando Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.

Send your letter to Hernando Times, 161 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601. Send letters by electronic mail (in text only format) to hernando@sptimes.com

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