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Meningococcal disease can cause serious infection of the blood and the tissues around the spinal cord and brain.Neisseria meningitidis bacteria also called meningococcus, are spread through saliva or spit and close or ongoing contact. Though not the only cause of meningitis, meningococcus is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the U.S. for children 2 to 18 years old. Of the more than 1,000 individuals affected each year, 10-15% will die as a result of this disease. Nearly 20% of the remaining survivors will lose a limb, develop nervous system disorders, become deaf, or suffer cognitive disabilities, seizures, or strokes.
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Anyone can acquire meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants less than a year old and individuals aged 16-21. Certain medical conditions, such as a lack of a spleen, can create increased risk. Recent outbreaks on college campuses nationwide have highlighted the threats to students living in dorms, and therefore have amplified the number of vaccinations being given. In the United States, there are two kinds of meningococcal vaccines available. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is given to individuals 55 years of age and younger.
Concerns About Immunisation Side Effects
If a side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childs condition after an immunisation, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.
In Victoria you can report immunisation side effects to SAEFVIC, the vaccine safety and central reporting service on Tel. 1300 882 924 #1. Ask your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories.
Meningococcal Disease Is A Medical Emergency:
Understanding the characteristic signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease is critical and possibly lifesaving, because meningococcal disease can cause serious illness and rapidly progress to death if untreated.
Meningococcal disease is difficult to detect because it can be mistaken for other conditions. A person may have flu-like symptoms for a few days before experiencing a rapid progression to severe meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease is contagious. If you experience symptoms, or you may have been exposed, immediately, day or night, at 734-764-8320 and request urgent Nurse Advice, or go to an emergency room. Also see Emergency/After Hours
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Who Should Get Meningococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens. In certain situations, CDC also recommends other children and adults get meningococcal vaccines. Below is more information about which meningococcal vaccines, including booster shots, CDC recommends for people by age.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
The Urgent Need To Educate
Meningitis acts quickly, causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes.
At first, symptoms can appear flu-like in nature, like headaches, body aches, and fever. But if not caught and treated immediately, meningitis can result in death.
Both Stillman and Wukovits lost daughters to meningitis B before the vaccination was released. The disease claimed the lives of each of their daughters within 48 hours after symptoms began to appear.
The desire to keep other parents from ever having to experience the same tragedy is part of why they both say theyre so passionate about raising awareness of the meningitis B vaccine.
Healthcare providers either dont know that there are two types of vaccines, or are not talking to their patients about the MenB vaccine, Stillman told Healthline.
To back up her claim, she pointed to a study in Pediatrics that found 50 percent of pediatricians and 69 percent of family physicians were failing to routinely discuss the MenB vaccination during appointments with 16- to 18-year-olds.
The reason for this lack of discussion isnt quite so simple, though, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson, Dr. Chris Nyquist.
As she explained to Healthline, the MenB vaccine isnt being pushed as hard as other vaccinations right now because its still so new.
Nyquist also pointed out the vaccines high price tag a cost that isnt covered by some healthcare plans.
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What Is Meningitis B
While its not very common, if you get meningococcal B, it is a nasty disease, Litjen Tan, MD, chief strategy officer at the Immunization Action Coalition , tells Health. The IAC is a national nonprofit authority on vaccination policies that aims to increase immunization rates.
Meningitis B is more prevalent among 18 to 24-year-old college students than kids and adults in other age groups that’s because it’s easier for infections to spread among young adults living in cramped living quarters, such as dorms. Symptoms of the disease include sudden high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, and vomiting, as well as convulsions, rapid breathing, and confusion. A dark purple rash will usually appear on the arms, legs, or torso, too.
Part of what makes meningitis B so deadly is that many students and parents dont know about it, and many symptoms mimic those of more common illnesses, such as the flu. It wouldnt be unreasonable for a college student to assume they had the flu and then try to sleep off some of the symptoms. But if they actually have meningitis B and try that approach, theres a good chance the illness will overcome them and turn fatal.
Kimberly was perfectly healthy. Sitting in her classroom. Next day shes in the ICU fighting for her life, Wukovits recalls.
Stillman echos her heartbreak. People think so rare. But when its your child, 100% of that child just died. It doesnt matter what the statistics are, she says.
What Are Meningitis And Meningococcal Disease
Meningitis is an inflammation of the linings around the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Often, the symptoms of viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are the same. Diagnosis of both viral and bacterial meningitis is confirmed by a lumbar puncture .
Viral meningitis is serious but rarely fatal in persons with normal immune systems. Usually, symptoms last 7-10 days and the person recovers completely. Many different viruses can cause meningitis. About 90% of cases of viral meningitis are caused by members of a group of viruses known as enteroviruses, such as coxsackieviruses and echoviruses. Herpes viruses and the mumps virus can also cause viral meningitis. There is no vaccination or treatment for viral meningitis .
Bacterial meningitis is of greater concern than viral meningitis, because it is associated with a significant risk of brain damage and death. Meningococcal meningitis, one type of bacterial meningitis, is of particular concern because while uncommon, it does affect college-age students and the disease may progress rapidly if untreated.
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Rare Side Effects Of Meningococcal Immunisation
There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic or medical surgery for at least 15 minutes following immunisation in case further treatment is required.
If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.
When Are Meningococcal Vaccines Given
Vaccination with MenACWY is recommended:
- when kids are 11 or 12 years old, with a booster given at age 16
- for teens 1318 years old who haven’t been vaccinated yet
Those who have their first dose between the ages of 1315 should get a booster dose between the ages of 1618. Teens who get their first dose after age 16 won’t need a booster dose.
Kids and teens who are at higher risk for meningococcal disease need the full series of MenACWY vaccines, even if they’re younger than 11 years old. This includes kids who:
- live in or travel to countries where the disease is common
- are present during an outbreak of the disease
- have some kinds of immune disorders. If the immune disorders are chronic, these kids also need a booster dose a few years later, depending on their age at the first dose.
The sequence and dosage depends on the child’s age, medical condition, and vaccine brand. Some types of meningococcal vaccines can be given as early as 8 weeks of age.
Kids 10 years and older with these risk factors also should get the MenB vaccine. They’ll need 2 or 3 doses depending on the brand. They might need more booster doses as long as the risk factor remains.
For those without risk factors, the decision to receive the MenB vaccine should be made together by teens, their parents, and the doctor. For them, the preferred age range is 1618 years. Usually, they need 2 doses.
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Get Fighting Fit After Meningitis
If you – or someone you know – suffered from meningitis, youll know its a serious disease. Sadly, recovery is not as simple as getting over a bout of flu and could carry some serious side effects.
Reviewed byDr Sarah Jarvis MBE
28-Sep-17·4 mins read
But you can learn how to manage your recovery so you come out fighting fit. Here’s what to expect.
What Is The Meningitis Vaccine
Currently there are 2 types of vaccines for meningitis:
- The MenACWY vaccine for preteens, teens, and children and adults with certain health conditions
- The MenB vaccine for people age 10 years and older who have certain health conditionsor are in an area with an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease
Meningococcal vaccines are also recommended by the CDC for people at increased risk for the disease, including:
- Those who live in places where people are in close contact with each other
- Have certain medical conditions
- People traveling to sub-Saharan Africa known as the Meningitis Belt
MenACWY VaccineThe MenACWY meningitis vaccine is recommended for:
- Preteens and teens ages 1118
- Children and adults age 2 months and older and adults who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease
MenB VaccineThe MenB meningitis vaccine is recommended for people 10 years and older who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease. Also, all teens can get the meningitis B vaccine, preferably at age 1618, directly before college. Multiple doses may be required.
The CDC has concluded that college freshman are seven times more likely to contract meningitis than other college students. This is because infectious diseases spread where large groups of people gather together, such as a college dormitory.
If youve previously received a meningitis vaccination, the CDC recommends getting a booster shot before heading off to college.
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How Is Meningococcal Disease Spread And Who Is Most At Risk
Meningococcal disease is not as contagious as other illnesses, such as a cold or the flu. But it is spread by contact with infected respiratory and throat secretions. That can happen with coughing, kissing, or sneezing.
Because the risk increases with close or prolonged contact with an infected person, family members in the same household and caregivers are at an increased risk. For the same reason, so are college students who live in dormitories.
Meningococcal Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Latest partial content update :
: The chapter has been updated to align with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Statement : The Use of Bivalent Factor H Binding Protein Meningococcal Serogroup B Vaccine for the Prevention of Meningococcal B Disease.
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for use in individuals 10 years of age and older in situations when a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine should be offered:
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for individuals 1025 years of age who are not at higher risk of meningococcal disease than the general population, but who wish to reduce their risk of invasive serogroup B meningococcal disease.
Last complete chapter revision: May 2015
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Simultaneous Administration With Other Vaccines
Men-C-C and 4CMenB vaccine may be administered concomitantly with routine childhood vaccines, and Men-C-ACYW vaccine may be administered concomitantly with adolescent and adult age appropriate vaccines. MenB-fHBP can be given concomitantly with quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine meningococcal serogroup A, C, Y, W conjugate vaccine and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed. The concomitant administration of MenB-fHBP has not been studied with other vaccines.
Men-C-ACYW-CRM can be administered with routine paediatric vaccines however, further studies are needed with regard to concomitant administration with pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine. Co-administration of Men-C-ACYW-CRM and combined tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine may result in a lower immune response to the pertussis antigens than when Tdap vaccine is given alone however, the clinical significance of this is unknown. Tdap vaccine given one month after Men-C-ACYW-CRM induces the strongest immunologic response to pertussis antigens.
If vaccines are to be administered concomitantly with another vaccine, a separate injection site and a different syringe must be used for each injection.
Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional general information.
Preteens And Teens Are At Increased Risk For Meningococcal Disease An Uncommon But Serious Illness
Meningococcal disease can be devastating and oftenand unexpectedlystrikes otherwise healthy people. Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, teens and young adults 16 through 23 years old are at increased risk. Meningococcal bacteria can cause severe, even deadly, infections like
- Bacteremia or septicemia
About 1 in 5 people who survive their meningococcal infection have permanent disabilities.
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Coronavirus And Viral Meningitis
Can the coronavirus cause viral meningitis?
As of the beginning of July, there have been over 12 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Only a handful of cases have reported patients with COVID-19 and meningitis at the same time. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that contracting COVID-19 makes it more likely that viral meningitis will reoccur. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is still much to learn. We will be monitoring the situation closely.
Who Should Get Which Meningococcal Vaccine And When
Although MCV4 is the preferred vaccine for most people, if it is not available when it’s time for the vaccination, MPSV4 can be used.
Routine immunization with the meningococcal vaccine MCV4 is recommended for children ages 11 or 12, with a booster to be given between ages 16 and 18. Vaccinations are also recommended for the following groups:
- College freshmen living in a dorm
- Military recruits
- Someone who has a damaged spleen
- Someone whose spleen has been removed
- Someone with terminal complement component deficiency
- Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria
- Someone traveling to or residing in a country where the disease is common
- Someone who has been exposed to meningitis
Preteens who are 11 and 12 usually have the shot at their 11- or 12-year-old checkup. An appointment should be made to get the shot for teenagers who did not have it when they were 11 or 12.
The vaccine may be given to pregnant women. However, since MCV4 and MenB are newer vaccines, there is limited data about their effect on pregnant women. They should only be used if clearly needed.
Anyone who is allergic to any component used in the vaccine should not get the vaccine. It’s important to tell your doctor about all your allergies.
People with mild illness such as a cold or congestion can usually get the vaccine. But people who are moderately or severely ill at the time of vaccine administration should wait until they recover.
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Persons With Inadequate Immunization Records
Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Conjugate meningococcal vaccine, as appropriate for age, may be given regardless of possible previous receipt of the vaccine, as adverse events associated with repeated immunization have not been demonstrated. Refer to Immunization of persons with inadequate immunization records in Part 3 for additional general information.
What Are The Risks From Meningococcal Vaccines
Most people have mild side effects from the vaccine, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. A vaccine, like any medicine, may cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. This risk is extremely small. Getting the meningococcal vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.
You can learn more on the Vaccine Information Statements for meningococcal ACWY and meningococcal B.
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Noninfectious Meningitis: Head Injuries Surgery Cancer And Certain Medications
Noninfectious meningitis occurs due to diseases or injuries, not contagious infections. It may happen suddenly, such as when a head injury causes the membranes around the brain to swell. It can also develop gradually, such as when a poorly managed disease attacks the meninges.
- a recent head injury or brain surgery
- medications or
What Causes Meningitis
Most cases are caused by bacteria or viruses, but some can be due to certain medicines or illnesses.
Many of the and that cause meningitis are fairly common and cause other routine illnesses. Both kinds of meningitis spread like most other common infections do someone who’s infected touches, kisses, or coughs or sneezes on someone who isn’t infected.
Bacterial meningitis is rare, but is usually serious and can be life-threatening if not treated right away.
In some cases of bacterial meningitis, the bacteria spread to the meninges from a severe head trauma or a severe local infection, such as a serious ear infection or nasal sinus infection .
Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial meningitis. In newborns, the most common causes are group B strep,E. coli, and less commonly, Listeria monocytogenes. In older kids, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are often the causes.
Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis and usually less serious.
Many of the viruses that cause meningitis are common, such as those that cause colds, diarrhea, cold sores, and the flu.
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