Memorial website in the memory of your loved one

I love and miss you always baby girl....

Please feel free to light a candle before you go.

There is a special Angel in Heaven
that is a part of me.
It is not where I wanted her
but where God wanted her to be.

she was here but just a moment
like a night time shooting star.
And though she is in Heaven
she isn't very far.

she touched the heart of many
like only an Angel can do.
I would've held her every minute
if the end I only knew.

So I send this special message
to the Heavens up above.
Please take care of my Angel
and send her all my love.

This memorial website was created by Becca's Mommy, Angela Satterthwaite in the memory of the most precious little girl, Rebecca Faith who was born on July 12, 1996 in Woodriver Illinois and passed away on March 29, 1997 at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St.Louis Missouri, Of Bacterial Meningitis, I will love and remember her forever and always. 




When tomorrow starts without me
and I'm not here to see... 
If the sun should rise and find your
eyes filled with tears for me, 

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
the way you did today... 
While thinking of the many things
we didn't get to say. 

I know how much you love me, 
as much as I love you... 
And each time you think of me, 
I know you'll miss me, too. 

But when tomorrow starts without me,
please try to understand... 
That Jesus came and called my name
and took me by the hand, 

And said my place was ready
in heaven far above... 
And that I'd have to leave behind
all those I dearly love. 
So when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart... 
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here in your heart. 

We are connected, my child and I,
by an invisible cord not seen by the eye.

Its not like the cord that connects us at birth,
This cord can't be seen by any on earth.

This cord does its work right from the start,
It binds us together, attached to my heart.

I know that it's there though no one can see,
This invisible cord, from my child to me.

The strength of this cord, It's hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed, It can't be denied.

It's stronger then any cord man could create.
It withstands the test, Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone and your not here with me.
The cord is still there, but no one can see.

It pulls at my heart, I am bruised, I am sore.
But this cord is my lifeline, as never before.

I'm thankful that God connects us this way.
A mother and child... Death can't take it away!

The Littlest Angel

I'm only a small child, not much do I know.
But God holds my hand as I look down below.
I'm here with the father in the most wonderful place
yet I can't feel much joy when I see your sad face.

Your heart has been broken, I can see from up here
as you struggle along and you wipe every tear.
If only I had words I could send you today
that would tell you I'm home and I'm really okay.

Heaven is so beautiful with sparkles and white wings
and the angels are teaching me so many things.
I'll grow and mature in this heavenly land
while holding on tightly to the Father's soft hand.

So don't grieve for me now, but find peace in you soul,
and know God has finally made your little one whole.
And even if you can't seem to understand "why",
please know in your heart that our love didn't die.

He tells me that just for a time we must wait
and then I can meet you at Heaven's front gate!
So for now, know I love you in my own special way
and we will meet again on that glorius day. 

God strolls among the heavens,
and together, down they look.
The little one looks mystified,
while the Lord writes in his book.
My child, have you chosen?
Which ones shall it be?
Give much consideration...
When you choose your family.
I looked around the whole wide world,
Till my eyes found your sweet face,
I knew you were my mommy,
I knew I'd found my place.
Jesus sat beside me then,
his eyes so kind and warm,
Are you ready now, my precious one,
To take on human form?
Challenges await you child,
a race that's yet to run,
but your life shall teach others,
when all is said and done.
At times you'll see your mommy weep,
You'll see her ask me, "Why"?
But children bring the heart a smile,
when the soul just longs to cry.
Now go my child, and teach them faith,
and should I bring you home...
remind your mommy that...
"She'll never walk alone". 

The doctor’s voice was heavy
His words chilled to the bone
Your little girl won’t last the day
Tonight, you’ll be alone.

I hurried to her bedside
Her body pale and weak
She told me that she loved me
I kissed her tiny cheek.

My child was quickly fading
I held her trembling hand
She said, “you mustn’t cry for me
Someday you’ll understand.

Today, I dreamt of angels
Who carried me away
To the holy land of Jesus
God talked to me today."

I held her, oh, so gently
She slowly passed away
My tears continued falling
On her gown that dreadful day.

For years, I nursed my anger
Consumed by endless grief
I even hoped that I might die
To bring about relief.

In a lonely cemetery
By her grave, one wintry day
I was sadly placing flowers
And felt the urge to pray.

As I knelt beside her gravesite
I felt a breath of spring
The sky lit up with angels
What comfort it did bring.

A voice broke through the silence
It brought about release
My little daughter spoke to me
My soul was filled with peace.

Her words were sweet as honey
She said, “I didn’t die
For now, I live with Jesus
So, Mommy please don’t cry.”

My daughter dwells in heaven
Of that, I can be sure
For today she walks with Jesus
            He’s taking care of her.

To some I may be nothing more than a distant memory..

My life on earth is over now, but do you remember me?
I  know I wasn't here that long, but God's work for me was through.
Please don't try to stop the thoughts of me because I never will of you.

Some may hear or speak my name and vanish the thoughts of me,
Why is it now that I am gone no one stops to see?
I'm closer to you now than I ever was before.
I love you all just the same and will forever more.
So please don't let my memories slowly fade away...
For I am still inside your heart, you see, where I will always stay.
Don't think of me as gone forever because someday we'll meet again.
Keep me close inside your heart until God tells you when.
You may be there for many years, no one ever knows.
So let my memory stay alive as the love inside you grows.
Some of you may wonder why God called for me sooner than you'd planned.
But please don't be mad at Him for I'm in the master's hands.
Please remember me with love and with each tear that you cry,
Remember I'm beside you still, although I said good-bye. 

Please light a candle in memory of my Becca, I would be honored

"When a man loses his wife, he’s called a widower.
When a woman loses her husband she’s a widow.
When a child loses his parents, he’s called an orphan.
But when a parent loses a child...there’s no name for this kind of grief...It’s too difficult to bear & has no name.”

Rebecca was the light of my life, she left me way too soon.
On March 27th 1997 my daughter was sick. I took her to the Emergency Room and the checked her over, gave her some blood test, and told me that all though her White Blood Cell count was high, she only had the Flu. They sent us home with Prescriptions for Pedilite, Benydryl and Tylenol. After a few days, Becca started to act like she was feeling better, I was much relieved. My sweet baby was smiling and laughing again. So sweet. On March 29th, 1997, I woke up and went in to get Becca as I did each morning, and when I walked into her room and went up to her bed, right away I knew something wasn't right. She was laying in vomit and breathing very heavily and quickly, I picked her up and it was like I was picking up a board, she was so stiff. She looked as though she had a ring of purple spots on her forehead. I didn't know what was wrong or what to do, I was young and never experienced anything like this, I called my Parents who lived right down the street, they rushed right over, they heard the panic in my voice. We rushed Becca to the same Emergency Room in which I had her 6 days prior to this. As we were on our way I was looking at her rubbing her hair telling her that everything was going to be ok, and her eyes rolled in the back of her head and she went limp. When we arrived I went in through the Emergency Entrance for Ambulances carrying my beautiful daughter. As soon as the Doctors seen her they took her out of my arms and told me that I should of called 911. I stood there in shock, I didn't know what to think or do, I felt so empty. All I could do was look on as they swiftly walked away with my baby in their arms. They kept her in a Trauma Room right across from the nurses desk. At the time, the Emergency room was under construction, the room they placed us was in the area of construction, due to the condition of Becca they did not keep us with the other patients waiting to be seen. As they led us out I found the area where they were creating a window that would be used for Admitting future patients for care. It was an enclosed desk with a window with one of those holes in the glass so that you could either talk through it or listen through it. Well, I could see Becca's door from there so that is where I stood, I seen a nurse come out of her room and start talking to another nurse at the station, she said "Oh, that poor baby, she has Meningitis." I looked at my Mom and Dad and family and said "What the hell is Meningitis?!" They looked fearful at me and said "No, not our Becca!" I still didn't know what it was. I started yelling through the hole for someone to please come and talk to me. Finally, someone did, The Doctor. He came out to tell me that he had called Cardinal Glennon Hospital, A St.Louis area children's hospital and that they are coming to get her Via helicopter,  I was in shock, I didn't know what to think, it was happening so fast, My baby girl was losing this fight, I felt it in my bones. I didn't know what it was and the Doctor tried his best to explain it to me. I still didn't understand. They took me back to see my baby girl, and what a change had occurred. She was so very hot when I kissed her cheek. I was crying so hard I could hardly see her, I told her Mommie was right here and that she was going to be just fine. I held her little hand and kissed her softly. What is going on? I asked God, Why is this happening to her? They soon told me that the helicopter had arrived and that I needed to go ahead at start over there because Becca would arrive before us. I wanted to go with her, they would not let me, they said it was against policy. I waited for her to be taken to the helicopter, kissed her and jumped in the Explorer that was waiting for me, my brother, We drove there, as fast as we could, arriving at Cardinal Glennon we were directed to a waiting room, I hated it, I wanted to see my baby. We were there 2-3 minutes at the most when a Doctor came in. He told us the Becca had died on her way here but they were able to revive her. He told me to follow him and he would take me too her. We got on the elevator and went to the third floor. They explained to me that a lot has happened since I had last seen her and that Becca wasn't herself. I said ok, but never was I ever prepared for what I was about to see. Oh my sweet Becca, she was Black and Purple from head to toe, she looked as though if I touched her she would burst. She was so swollen. I walked up to the bed, and kissed her cheek and started talking to her, telling her that I was there and that I would never leave her side and that I loved her with all my heart and how Mommie wished it was her so she wouldn't have any more pain. I rubbed her hair and couldn't stop talking, I had to find the right word to make this all go away. I told her "Tomorrow is Easter baby and you have a dress you are going to make beautiful, come on baby, get better for Mommie." She tried so hard to do her best. They told me I had to go back to the waiting room, they had more work to do to help my baby, so I went. It seemed like a lifetime before I heard anything again. I was called into the hall and was introduced to about 6 different Doctors, I only remember 1, Dr. Ream, he had been with Becca from the start upon her arrival at Cardinal Glennon.They told me that Becca was not winning this fight, and if she did how she would be, They told me that Becca would be a complete Vegetable and would live on an eating tube and respirator. She would lose her left leg, and possibly more limbs. She had Water House Fredricksing syndrome, which was cause the discoloration and the swelling. She would never be the same baby I had known. My life shattered once again. All I could do was weep. They told me that Becca had died once again and they were able to revive her and that I should go back there and see her, I was more then willing to do this. I walked in and seen this aby and my heart was ripping out of my chest, I held her hand and kissed her I told her that I was sorry that I couldn't protect her from this, an dhow I wished it were me and not her, but all the wishing in the world would not change this situation. The Doctor told me that it was time for me to go back and wait. Wait for what? I silently asked myself. As I was leaving the room, these alarms started going off, I turned to go back to Becca's side but the Doctor stopped me and told an orderly to "get me out of there" He told me I had to go, that they were trying to help her and I would only be in the way, reluctantly I went. I was right outside the door when the Doctor came to tell me my Becca was gone. I became a shell, an empty shell that could not be fixed. I though I had cried before, but I didn't, not tears like these. They had me sign a paper, later I realized it was her death certificate, and permission for them to do an Autopsy. The Doctor told me that I could go see Becca one last time. I went back there, knowing my little girl was gone. My heart in a trillion pieces. I walked in to the silent room and there she laid, on that bed, it looked so big with her in it. The nurse picked her up and put her in my arms, the first time I got to hold her since that morning. I cried and rocked her. I didn't understand. I asked why. No answer came. I sat and held my baby girl that had made me that happiest person on earth, it was only natural now that she was gone to be the saddest. The nurse told me how beautiful she was as she touched her hair. "You want a lock of her hair?" Yes I did. It was all I could take of my Angel. They left me alone with her for a few minutes and when the time came that I had to go, I didn't want to. I held her tight. They had to take her from me, I was not going to let go willingly. I was a basket case. They told me I had to take this pill, to prevent me from contacting the disease and I refused. I did not want to take it. My brother told me I had to, he told me if I didn't take it he would shove it down my throat cause I wasn't thinking right. I did, I took their little pill. I wasn't happy about it, but I did because I wanted people to leave me alone. The ride home was fuzzy, I don't remember it much. I couldn't go back to our Apartment, so I stayed with my parents. We laid Becca to rest on April 1st 1997. I had my sweet girl for Eight months and seventeen days. not nearly long enough. Today I am grateful for the time I had with her. Becca taught me so much more them anybody else in my whole life. She taught me to never take for granted that someone will always be there, cause they may not. She taught me to say now what you feel, good or bad, do not put it off. And most of all she taught me the meaning of Love. Unconditional pure love. 

I was walking in
Savannah, near a church decayed and dim, and there through a window came a plain old funeral hymn, A sympathy awoken and a wonder quickly grew, and I found my self invowered in a little bitty pew. Out front a couple sat in sorrow and nearly wild, on the alter was a coffin, in the coffin was a child, then rose a sad little Preacher from his little wooden desk and he said " Now don't be weeping for this little bit of clay, for the little girl who lived here has done gone and run away, she's doing very finely and she appreciates your love but the good Lord wanted her in the large house up above, Now he didn't give you this baby by a hundred thousand miles, he thought you needed sunshine so he loaned her for a while, he let you love her and keep her till you heart was bigger grown, And these tears your crying, they are interest on a loan, So my poor dejected mourners let your hearts with Jesus rest, and don't go criticizing the one who knows the best, He gives us many comforts, he has the right to take away, to the Lord be Praised and Gloried, Now and forever let us pray.

                                        Author Unknown

Comes the Dawn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning,
and that company doesn’t mean security,
and you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts,
and presents aren't promises.
You begin to accept defeats with your head up
and your eyes open.
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child;
And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground it too uncertain for plans.
And futures have a way of falling in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you can really endure...
That you are really strong.
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn....
With every Goodbye you learn.

"The best and most beautiful things in the
world cannot be seen, nor touched,
but are felt in the heart"
Helen Keller

From that beautiful face always came a beautiful smile that we were given from above, but only for a very short while. Those precious tiny feet never did walk, but took many endless paths down many peoples hearts.

Alphabets, Storybooks, Bicycles too, You never got to experience them, they were robbed from you. When the Angels took you away with their wings spread like a dove, they took you to Jesus, To Heaven above.

We don't understand and we ask the question "Why" only God knows the answer, as he watches broken hearts cry. Some changes it may take and this I must do, Is pray my way to Heaven so I can be with my Sweet Becca Boo.

Dear God, 
             I am sitting here and I have been doing a lot of thinking as you know. God I don’t understand, for the life of me, I try and try and try but nothing comes. I loved my baby girl and even though I wasn’t the best parent in the world I did my best to take care of her. I hear people tell me to move on in my life, and God we both know that I have tried. I have tried and succeeded in moving on, but I can not leave Becca behind. I carry her with me in my heart where ever I go. God, she has been gone from me for 9 years now, When will the pain stop? When will it go away? I hurt so much to this day. Sometimes I feel like I am such a baby, and I am holding on to something that should have been let go of. I can’t no matter how hard I try; I just can’t let her go. You sent me a very Smart, Handsome and Loving Son and I am Very Grateful for him, he fills up my heart and my life, But God, there’s an empty place, it’s so dark and cold there. I can’t seem to fill it, It’s the part of my heart that misses my Becca. I don’t know where to turn and I feel the only thing to do is to tell you how I feel. I can’t help the way I am feeling. Will you do me a favor God? Will you kiss my baby for me and tell her how much her Mommie misses and loves her, put your arms around her and give her a big hug for me. Tell her I think about her every day since she has been gone; tell her I will never let her memory die as long as I live. I am not ok God, I need you, and I need you to help me and to show me that everything is going to be alright because right now, I feel like I am losing ground and falling fast. Keep me in your peaceful embrace and comfort me because I think you’re the only one who can. Show me your mercy and grace as you have before. God I trust you to do this, you have brought me through so much, if you could only help me on this. I need you. I need you to be close to me and help me with my pain. I miss my baby; I miss all that I would have experienced with her as a daughter. I feel as if Satan robbed her of her life. You took her out of your mercy; you didn’t want to see your child suffer. God please give me understanding, I need it more then ever.A beautiful Angel that has flown high to heaven and watches over those who love her and keep her memory in their heart. A loving child that exceeded all my expectations in her short life. She is Heavens perfect child.



Today you will be Seventeen years old, oh how the time flies baby girl, I never thought that  would make it without you this long but look at me living. You have taught me so much and everyday I carry all the lessons you have taught me in the short time you were here, which today seems like a flash of lightening. I am sitting here baking your annual cake.  still do this all these years later, some people ask why, well, I don't tell them, it's our special thing and they can just enjoy the cake as I remember why I made it, to celebrate the birth of an Angel. I love you Becca more than ever. I smile today because I know that one day, we will be together again.

Click here to see Rebecca Barnes's
Family Tree
Tributes and Condolences
Thinking of you   / Jo-Ann Pacenta Lauren's Mom
Thinking of you on your angel date   / Jo-Ann Pacenta Mom Of Angel Lauren (Connected by angels )
God Beautiful Angel   / Leslie (None)
Thank you soo much for signing my grandpa's website. It means so much that people out there care so much for others. Your site for your little girl is BEAUTIFUL. If you know anyone who could help me with my grandpa's site that would be great. No matt...  Continue >>
Bless The Child   / Leslie (Someone who cares )
To Rebecca Mommy,I just wanted to tell you how sorry i am for your loss. Rebecca is such a beautiful baby. She will always shine and she will always be with you. She lives in you... in your heart. I am so speechless...  I can't even imagine the ...  Continue >>
Thinking Of Rebecca   / Donna -Corey's Mom (Internet Friend )
Thinking of beautiful Rebecca and sending hugs and prayers to her loving family. As a bereaved parent who has lost my son and daughter in-law, my heart goes out to you always.

Hugs and Prayers,
Donna-Corey's Mom

Continue >>
Your Birthday is coming up baby girland I can't help but wonder.....  / Mommy     Read >>
Happy Birthday  / Jo-Ann Pacenta Lauren's Mom (Angelfamilies)    Read >>
Happy Heavenly Birthday!  / Lucinda~Gma2Angel Sheyenne Chappell (Angel Friend )    Read >>
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY  / Debbie Wengert Kevin's Mom     Read >>
An Easter wish  / Rosemary Sis Of ^j^ Alvin Cremeans     Read >>
A tribute to Becca and her mommy, Angela who will always love and miss her  / Melissa Killingsworth (Angel Brandon's Mom )    Read >>
Remembering... / Cindy Hassler ^j^ Heath's Mom     Read >>
our stories - so different, so alike  / Laurie Dreier     Read >>
More tributes and condolences...
Click here to pay tribute or offer your condolences
Her legacy
My daughter  

I love you Rebecca, You

were the sun in my day

and the moon in my

night, I will never forget

you baby girl, some days I can

feel you so close and others you

seem so far away. I promise you

baby this is the year you will be

getting your headstone that you

so much deserve, I can do

nothing else for you but this site

and your headstone. I cherish

every memory that I have of you.

I wish so much that I could of

saved you. I don't understand, to

this day why you had to go. You

left me with so much you taught

me how to give and receive love

and not just any kind of love the

whole hearted pure

unconditional love that you can

only learn from a child. You

taught me how to laugh with the

way you would look at me with

those sweet wondering eyes, You

taught me how to be a Mom, and

what it meant to have someone

you were responsible for to care

for and to protect. You taught me

how to cry, to really really cry, to

know how great of a loss it was to

lose you and to realize that

without you life couldn't go on,

but you showed me that it can!

You helped bring me out of so

much! After you died all life's

meaning slipped away, but you

managed to bring it back, I know

I messed up with your sister and I

am still real sad about it, but then

you said "Ok Mom, one more

try!" Johnny came! Your brother

is amazing! He reminded me a lot

of you when he was born, Becca,

he's helping me heal baby girl! I

love you so very much and I will

never let you go, but Johnny has

brought the life back, a reason to

go on, a reason to stay sober one

more day! I love you baby girl for

teaching me to NEVER take

people for granted! Yes honey I

finally learned! I know now to

never let an opportunity pass to

say "I love you" and to give just

one more kiss! For all this Becca

Boo, I thank you sweetheart, you

were and are my Guarding Angel!

Please read this educational artical.  


Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain.

About Meningitis

Is It Viral or Bacterial?

Meningitis is difficult to recognize, understand and diagnose.  It is often called spinal meningitis, bacterial meningitis or viral meningitis.  

Essentially, there are two major divisions of meningitis -- viral (caused by a virus) and bacterial (caused by one of several types and strains of bacteria residing in the throat or nasal passages).  The bacterial form of meningitis is extremely dangerous, fast-moving and has the most potential for being fatal.  For many survivors, the long-term effects can be debilitating, possibly including multiple amputations, hearing loss and kidney damage.  Many (but not all) forms of bacterial meningitis can be prevented by vaccination.  Viral meningitis has similar symptoms to bacterial meningitis, but is neither as deadly nor as debilitating for the most part.  There is no vaccine protection against viral meningitis; it is most often treated with an antibiotic.

Major Bacterial Types

There are many forms and types of bacteria which cause meningitis, but NMA focuses particularly on meningococcal meningitis because it is deadly, preventable and very few people, including doctors, are fully informed about methods of prevention against the disease.

The three main kinds of bacterial meningitis in the U.S. are:

1. Meningococcal meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis)

These are big words for one of the most devastating types of meningitis today.  The disease is expressed as either meningococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or meningococcemia, the presence of bacteria in the blood.  Meningococcal meningitis is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis for U.S. toddlers, adolescents and young adults.

The five main serogroups (or types) of bacteria in the U.S. are A, B, C, Y and W-135, which cause more than 95 percent of meningococcal disease worldwide.  The bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis reside in the throats and nasal passages of approximately 15 percent of the general population.  Researchers are unsure why the bacteria attacks some people while most of the population are not affected.

2. Pneumococcal meningitis (Streptococcus pneumoniae)

This variety primarily attacks younger children.  In 2000, the U.S. approved a new conjugate vaccine for young children.  The vaccine is deemed to be very effective and safe.  There is some misunderstanding about pneumococcal meningitis.  Even though the CDC has published a recommended vaccination schedule, parents need to understand this disease can also kill older children.

3. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) disease

Hib meningitis primarily attacks the very young, but it has nearly been eradicated in the U.S. since the introduction of infant vaccination programs against Hib in the mid-1980s.

Meningococcal Meningitis

About Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal meningitis is a serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection that strikes nearly 3,000 Americans annually.  In particular, adolescents and young adults are at increased risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis. 


There are nearly 3,000 cases every year in the U.S.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 10-12 percent of the cases are fatal (about 300 to 360).  Among those who survive meningococcal meningitis, approximately 20 percent suffer long-term consequences, such as brain damage, kidney disease, hearing loss or limb amputations.

Who is at Risk?

Adolescents and young adults have an increased incidence of meningococcal meningitis compared to the general population, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all U.S. cases annually.  However, up to 80 percent of cases among adolescents may be vaccine-preventable.

The disease is especially significant among college students, since studies show freshmen living in dorms are particularly vulnerable to meningococcal meningitis.  Adolescent and young adults may be at an increased risk of infection due to certain lifestyle factors, such as:

  • Crowded living conditions (such as dormitories, boarding schools and sleep-away camps)

  • Moving to a new residence

  • Attendance at a new school with students from geographically diverse areas

  • Sharing beverages or utensils

  • Going to bars

  • Active or passive smoking

  • Irregular sleeping patterns 

Other risk groups include infants and young children, refugees, household contacts of case patients and military personnel.

How is it Spread?

Meningococcal meningitis is contagious.  The disease is transmitted through air droplets and direct contact with infected persons (e.g., coughing, kissing or sharing utensils, drinking glasses, cigarettes, etc.). 

The bacteria attach to the mucosal lining of the nose and throat where they can multiply.  When bacteria penetrate the mucosal lining and enter the bloodstream, they travel rapidly throughout the body and can cause damage to many organs.  The bacteria cannot live outside the body for very long, so the disease is not as easily transmitted as a cold virus.  The disease occurs most often in late winter and early spring.

Ways to help prevent spreading the disease include following good hygiene practices, such as washing hands, not sharing water bottles or other drinks, avoiding cigarettes and generally not transmitting or sharing items that have been in one's mouth.


Even those who have been vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis should be aware of the symptoms in themselves or in others.

Meningococcal meningitis is often misdiagnosed as something less serious because early symptoms are similar to the flu.  Early symptoms of meningitis, the most common form of meningococcal disease, are sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck.  Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, altered mental status and seizures often accompany these symptoms.  After the disease has taken hold, a rash may appear. 

Left untreated, the disease can progress rapidly, often within hours of the first symptoms, and can lead to shock, death or serious complications, including hearing loss, brain damage, kidney disease or limb amputations.  Students are urged to seek medical care immediately if they experience two or more of these symptoms concurrently, or if the symptoms are unusually sudden or severe.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a new meningococcal conjugate vaccine for use among persons aged 11 to 55 years.  Menactra vaccine is the first quadrivalent conjugate vaccine licensed in the U.S. for the prevention of meningococcal disease.  Menactra vaccine is designed to offer protection against four serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis (A, C, Y, W-135), which account for approximately 70 percent of cases in the United States. 

Conjugate vaccines have been shown to stimulate more powerful immune responses.  In general, the benefits of a successful conjugate vaccine include long-term immunity without the need for revaccination as well as decrease carriage of meningococcal bacteria among adolescents, preventing the spread of the disease. 

Before Menactra, a polysaccharide vaccine called Menomune – that provides protection against four of the five disease strains for three to five years – had been quite effective in reducing rates of the disease among certain populations. 

No vaccine currently is available in the U.S. to protect against serogroup B, though one is available in New Zealand, and in Norway and Cuba, scientists are conducting studies of vaccines against the B serogroup.  Additionally, there has been promising research sponsored by a parent group in Scotland that claims to have made a significant breakthrough in solving the serogroup B problem in that country

As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site or a mild fever, which typically last for one to two days.  Immunization is not recommended during pregnancy or if the individual has a compromised immune system.

To find out if a meningococcal vaccination is right for your family, please contact your health care provider.

CDC Recommendations on Vaccination
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the CDC on national vaccination policy, met in February 2005 and developed new recommendations calling for routine meningococcal meningitis immunization for young adolescents at the pre-adolescent visit (11-12 year olds), adolescents at high school entry and college freshmen living in dormitories.

Other health advocacy groups, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) are currently reviewing the new recommendations targeting younger adolescents and college students, and are expected to adopt similar recommendations in the near future.

What is the Treatment?
Health care must be immediate and aggressive to prevent death and/or serious side effects.  Once meningococcal meningitis is suspected or diagnosed, it is treated with heavy doses of antibiotics.  Early treatment is essential to reduce the risk of death.  However, because the disease can progress so quickly, early treatment does not guarantee a full recovery.  Antibiotics also should be given to those in close contact with a person who is diagnosed with meningitis.

Meningococcal bacteria can cause two life-threatening conditions: meningitis and sepsis.
In meningitis, the bacteria attack the lining around the brain called the meninges. They breach the meninges to infect the fluid running into the spinal cord. One clear, early symptom is a stiff, sore neck. The meninges and brain start to swell, putting pressure on essential nerves. Fewer than one in 50 victims of meningococcal meningitis will die, but survivors are often left deaf or with permanent brain damage.

 Rebecca was infected with this type of Meningitis:

The other type of infection is much more deadly, killing roughly 20 percent of its victims. It's a severe blood poisoning called meningococcal sepsis that affects the entire body. The bacterial toxins rupture blood vessels and can rapidly shut down vital organs.Meningococcal bacteria commonly live in the human throat without causing harm. But sometimes they break through the throat's lining and enter the bloodstream. The reasons why and how are only now being unraveled. Damage to the throat from flu and other infections could be one factor. Every meningococcal bacterium is surrounded by a slimy outer coat that contains a poisonous chemical called an endotoxin. While many bacteria produce endotoxin, the levels produced by meningococcal bacteria are 100 to 1,000 times greater than normal. As the bacteria multiply and move through the bloodstream, they shed bubbles that contain concentrated amounts of toxin. These bubbles also act as decoys, confusing the body's immune system. The endotoxin targets the heart, affecting its ability to pump and also causes blood vessels throughout the body to leak. As every vessel starts to hemorrhage, major organs like the lungs and kidneys are damaged and eventually destroyed. Two things can stop this runaway infection before the patient dies: antibiotics like penicillin, and the patient's own immune system. As soon as doctors suspect meningococcal disease, patients are given a large dose of antibiotic, usually penicillin. Penicillin flowing through the bloodstream rapidly kills the bacteria. But it cannot penetrate the bubbles that contain the endotoxin. In fact, as the bacteria are killed, they release even more toxin. It takes up to two days for the poison to be cleared from the body and the siege to end. As soon as the bacteria entered the bloodstream, unleashing the poisonous endotoxin, the body began responding on its own. White blood cells, the hunter-killers of the immune system, locked onto the bacteria, engulfing them and coming into contact with the endotoxin. The poison causes the white cells to release chemicals that make the blood vessel walls sticky. The white cells then become trapped on the walls, leaving a trail of damage. Gradually the lining of the blood vessels is stripped away. And as the damage increases, the vessel walls break up and pieces fall off. The blood's repair cells, called platelets, rush to plug up the damaged areas. Dangerous clots begin to form. The proteins that normally prevent clotting have all been destroyed. Within minutes the small blood vessels of the body are completely blocked. The damaged blood vessels disintegrate, and blood and other fluids hemorrhage into the surrounding tissue. It is this cascade of events that causes the distinctive rash that appears beneath the skin and kills tissue throughout the body.

I wanted to add this to the page so that the public is
aware of the seriousness of this disease, I hope you find it educational for yourself and those you love.

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