In this modern era, there is an increase in the number of people suffering from a disease called Meningococcal Meningitis. It is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the spinal cord and brain. The swelling due to meningitis normally triggers symptoms such as a stiff neck, fever and headache. Many people get meningococcal disease and related severe infections of this ailment every year.
A large number of patients suffering from meningococcal meningitis have been found in the United States. Viral infection is the major cause of this problem; however, fungal and parasitic infections are also the other causes. Some people suffering from meningitis improve without any type of treatment within a short span of time; on the other side, some cases can be life-threatening and need instant antibiotic treatment. Without any precaution and treatment, most of the patients who have meningitis suffer severe health issues, injury and damages that last the rest of their lives or can even die. The best part is, like many other diseases, there are vaccines available to prevent meningitis as well.
Why Meningitis Vaccines are Important?
Meningococcal disease is rare and can be caused by a number of different microorganisms. Safety from these infections is actually important as it can become dangerous very soon — in fact, it can be fatal in just a few hours, so several vaccinations provide some protection against it1. Meningitis is commonly found in young adults, teens and people with some specific illness, but the teens are at higher risk of getting it. This ailment can cause numerous serious infections of the lining of the brain, blood or the spinal cord1. Getting vaccinated is the great method to prevent meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal meningitis is caused due to a type of bacteria. It can lead to an infection of the bloodstream, and can be deadly if not quickly treated. The meningitis vaccine is really effective to protect against four strains of the bacteria2. Two meningitis vaccines shield four kinds of meningococcal disease. An additional sort of vaccine defends against serious type B, which also causes meningitis.
What Parents Should Know About Meningitis Vaccine?
1,000 out of 2,600 people get meningococcal disease every year, of which one-third are young adults and teenagers3. 10% to 15% of those who get this disease die even with an antibiotic treatment. Twenty percent people will have permanent adverse effects, such as brain damage or hearing loss. The vaccination can help prevent this life-threatening health condition. Considering the huge number of teens and young adults getting affected by meningitis, it is essential for parents to get their child vaccinated.
Who Mainly Requires a Meningitis Vaccine?
People who mainly require meningitis vaccine are2:
- All children of the age group 11 to 18 or specific younger high-risk children
- People with missing or a damaged spleen or people with immune system disorders
- Military recruits
- Anyone living or traveling to places where meningitis is common like in sub-Saharan Africa.
Who Should Not Get The Meningitis Vaccine?
Either due to health or age conditions, some individuals have to wait before getting a particular vaccine or should not get certain vaccines.
Your child should not get the vaccine3 if:
- The person or child have had a severe allergy or have a life-threatening disease.
- Any person who has had a fatal allergy issue after a previous dose of a meningitis vaccination should not obtain another dosage of that vaccine.
- Anybody who has a serious allergy reaction to any portion of these immunizations should not acquire another dose of that vaccination.
- A child or a person are not well should not get the vaccine and reschedule it. Persons who are severely or moderately sick should wait until they recover. The healthcare professional can advise you when a person can get this vaccine.
Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers
Serogroup B meningococcal vaccinations should only be given to breastfeeding or pregnant women who are at increased risk of suffering from it. The administration of vaccine is decided only after speaking with a physician considering the benefits of obtaining the vaccinations outweigh the risk.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccinations may be given to women who are pregnant. Women at increased risk for serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease can get these immunizations1.
What are Possible Adverse Effects of Meningitis Vaccines?
A majority of people who get a meningitis vaccine do not face any severe health issues with it. With any particular medication or treatment, including vaccinations, there is a risk of adverse effects. These are generally minor and go away on its own within a short period of time, but serious allergic reactions can also be possible.
Side Effects of Meningitis Conjugates Vaccine:
- Allergic reactions where the shot was given like pain and redness
Side Effects of Serogroup B Meningitis Vaccinations:
Allergic reactions where the shot was given like
- Feeling headache
- Joint or muscle pain
- Chills or fever
- Diarrhea or nausea
If these issues occur, they can last up to 3 to 7 days.
What is the Mortality Rate for Meningitis?
According to a survey in the United States, between 1,400 and 2,800 cases of meningococcal disease happen per year. Invasive meningococcal ailment can be life-threatening, even with the treatment of antibiotic and the mortality rate is around 9-12 %. Almost around 20% of the survivors of meningitis experience permanent damage such as loss of a limb, hearing loss or damage to the brain.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), meningococcal meningitis, the common presentation of meningococcal disease, “should always need a medical emergency” and also requires admission to a hospital.
What is the Care and Treatment For Meningitis?
Antibiotics are useful medication to prevent meningococcal disease. The reason behind this is that the meningococcal meningitis symptoms are almost same to the kind of meningitis caused by other germs. The antibiotics are primarily used to treat wide range of meningitis symptoms until it can be assured that N. meningitidis is the root cause of the problem. After this has been proved, penicillin or other appropriate medicine can be given in order to treat the condition completely.
What are the Available Vaccination Campaigns and Vaccines?
Five serogroups— bacteria groups that include a usual antigen and are able to produce an immune response—are mutually responsible for almost all intrusive meningococcal problems: Groups A, B, C, Y, and W-135. In the United States, four of these, except serogroup B, are covered by the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccinations.
There are 2 major types of meningococcal vaccinations. A meningococcal polysaccharide vaccination has been presented in the market since 1970. However, the polysaccharide immunization against pneumococcal ailment is mainly effective in adults and does not constantly produce immunity in teenagers.
The first conjugate meningococcal vaccination MCV4 (Menactra) was certified in 2005 in the United States, and the second MenACWY-CRM (Menveo) was approved in 20104. These are the ideal vaccinations for people between age group of 2 years and 55 years; Menactra is licensed for age group of 2 to 55, and Menveo for age group of eleven to 555.
Group B vaccinations for meningococcal disease were certified in the United States in 2014 and 2015. MenB-4C (Bexsero) is a two-dose vaccination and MenB-FHbp (Trumenba) is a three-dose vaccination.
- World Health Organization. Meningococcal meningitis. Updated January 2018. Accessed 01/25/2018.
- CDC. Vaccine information statement: Meningococcal ACWY vaccines (MenACWY and MPSV4) VIS. Updated 03/31/2016. Accessed 01/25/2018.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Approved products > Menveo. 07/14/2010. Accessed 01/25/2018
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