Meningococcal Disease Quick Facts:
Meningococcal disease is a deadly bacterial infection. It can cause meningococcal meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord, and meningococcemia, an infection of the blood.
If you dont treat meningococcal disease right away it could lead to brain damage and death in as little as a few hours.
Meningococcal disease can be passed to your child through direct contact with the bacteria from the nose or throat of someone infected. This includes saliva, which can be shared through food, drinks, soothers, straws, water bottles and direct contact such as kissing.
Which Meningococcal Vaccines Are Available
In the U.S., three meningococcal vaccines are available:
- Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine , sold as Menomune
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine , sold as Menactra, MenHibrix, and Menveo.
- Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, sold as Trumenba and Bexsero.
MPSV4 and MCV4 can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, which make up about 70% of the cases in the U.S.
The MenB vaccines prevent the Meningococcal B strain.
MCV4 is preferred for people age 55 and younger. The recommendation for teens is one dose at age 11 and one dose at age 16. The doctor or nurse injects one dose into the muscle. If MCV4 is not available, you can use MPSV4. The doctor or nurse injects one dose beneath the skin.
MPSV4 is the only meningococcal vaccine approved for use in people over 55.
The MenB vaccines are recommended for ages 10-24, by the CDC for high risk patients, but can also be used in older adults. Trumenba is administered in three doses while Bexsero requires two doses.
Who Should Get Immunised Against Meningococcal Disease
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against meningococcal disease can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.
Anyone wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease can be offered vaccination with meningococcal B and meningococcal ACWY from as early as 6 weeks of age.
Meningococcal immunisation is recommended for:
- babies and young children under 2 years old
- teenagers and young adults aged 15-19 years
- teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 24 years living together in close quarters, such as dormitories and military barracks
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 2 months to 19 years
- teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 24 years who are current smokers
- people who are travelling overseas to places where meningococcal disease is more common, or people travelling to mass gatherings like the Hajj ,
- people who have medical conditions that increase their risk of invasive meningococcal disease for example, people who have certain blood disorders, or are taking treatment for certain blood disorders people with weakened immune systems, such as people without a functioning spleen, people living with HIV and people who have had a stem cell transplant
- laboratory workers who work with the bacterium that causes meningococcal disease
Speak to your doctor or vaccination provider for advice or refer to the meningococcal recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information and list of medical conditions.
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Are Free Or Low
Yes, if you don’t have insurance or your insurance does not cover the cost of the meningococcal vaccines, you may be able to find free or low-cost meningococcal shots. Note that there may still be an administration fee of up to $21.22 per shot.
- If you are 18 years old or younger: Talk to your doctor or clinic to see if they participate in the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program.
- If you are 19 years old or older: Go to Vaccination Clinics Serving Uninsured and Underinsured Adults to search for a clinic near you that offers low-cost vaccines for eligible adults.
But What If My Child Already Got A Meningitis Vaccine At A Younger Age
There are two different types of vaccinations needed to help protect against the 5 vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis . Your child may have gotten a meningitis vaccine at a younger age, but meningitis B vaccination has only been available since 2014, and they may not have received it.11 CDC currently recommends meningitis B vaccination for adolescents and young adults aged 16-23 years based on a conversation between a healthcare provider and a patient.13
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Toward A World Without Meningitis
PATH is on the front lines of an effort to defeat meningitis by 2030.
A young man gets vaccinated with MenAfriVac at the vaccine’s 2010 launch in Burkina Faso. MenAfriVac has virtually eliminated group A meningitis wherever it has been used. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.
It arrives suddenly. It brings severe fever and vomiting, stiff neck and pounding headache it can kill within hours. It doesnt necessarily spare survivors, leaving many with lifelong disabilities such as deafness and neurological impairments.
It is meningitis, and it is a global threatthough, like many diseases, children and those in low-resource countries suffer the greatest burden.
A serious infection of the thin lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord, meningitis has many causes, usually viruses or bacteria. Viral cases typically resolve on their own without treatment bacterial cases, however, are extremely serious and often fatal without treatment. Infants, children, and young adults are most likely to suffer from bacterial meningitis. An estimated 2.5 million cases of meningitis occur globally each year, with approximately 250,000 deaths.
PATH contributed to the development of the roadmap, but even more importantly were contributing on the front lines, with vaccines against three of the four major causes of bacterial meningitis in development.
Can The Meningococcal Vaccine Cause Meningococcal Disease
The short answer is no. There are actually four meningococcal vaccines licensed in the U.S. None of the vaccines contains live bacteria.
The vaccines contain antigens — substances that trigger the body’s immune system and cause it to make antibodies. These antibodies then protect the body by attacking and killing the bacteria if it should invade your system.
The first vaccine — meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine or MPSV4 — was approved in 1978. It’s made with the antigens contained in the outer polysaccharide or sugar capsule that surrounds the bacterium.
The meningococcal conjugate vaccine or MCV4 was approved in 2005. It uses antigens taken from the polysaccharide capsule and then bound to a separate protein that targets the body’s immune cells. This makes it easier for the body’s immune system to see and recognize the antigens.
One type of MCV4, Menveo, is licensed for use in people ages 2 to 55. Another version, Menactra, is approved for those 9 months to 55 years old. MPSV4 is the only vaccine licensed for use in people over 55 as well as people 2 to 55. Both vaccines protect against four types of meningococcal disease.
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Global Public Health Response Elimination Of Meningococcal A Meningitis Epidemics In The African Meningitis Belt
In the African meningitis belt, meningococcus serogroup A accounted for 8085% of meningitis epidemics before the introduction of a meningococcal A conjugate vaccine through mass preventive campaigns and into routine immunization programmes . As of April 2021, 24 of the 26 countries in the meningitis belt have conducted mass preventive campaigns targeting 1-29 year olds , and half of them have introduced this vaccine into their national routine immunization schedules. Among vaccinated populations, incidence of serogroup A meningitis has declined by more than 99% – no serogroup A case has been confirmed since 2017. Continuing introduction into routine immunization programmes and maintaining high coverage is critical to avoid the resurgence of epidemics.
Cases of meningitis and outbreaks due to other meningococcal serogroups, apart from serogroup B, continue to strike. The roll out of multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines is a public health priority to eliminate bacterial meningitis epidemics in the African Meningitis Belt.
The pneumococcus has over 97 serotypes, 23 causing most disease.
Haemophilus influenzae has 6 serotypes, serotype b causing most meningitis.
- Conjugate vaccines protect specifically against Haemophilus influenzae serotype b . They are highly effective in preventing Hib disease and are recommended for routine use in infant vaccine schedules.
Group B streptococcus
Bath Student Killed By Rare Meningitis Strain As Locals Told Not To Panic
Public Health England is now working with the university to establish if anyone else is affected
A student at Bath Spa University has died from a rare strain of Meningitis.
Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis Now have separately confirmed the news today after being made aware of the death.
The student died from group B meningococcal meningitis, a rare form of the disease which people are not usually vaccinated against.
A spokesman for the charity, Meningitis Now, said he was a final year business management student who has not yet been named.
Public Health England is “working closely” with Bath Spa, NHS partners and Bath and North East Somerset Council to “identify close contacts of the case to prevent the further spread of this infection”.
‘We urge students not to panic’
UPDATE: Antibiotics being handed out after Bath Spa University meningitis death
People who have had close contact have received antibiotics – while there is no need for a wider group of people to take medication, Public Health England say.
Doctor Tom Nutt, chief executive at Meningitis Now, has urged people at the university “not to panic” but said the student had been killed by a rare strain of the disease which young people are not usually vaccinated against.
He said: “It is very sad to hear of another young life being lost to meningitis.
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British Columbia Specific Information
Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective lining around the brain and spinal cord. It is a type of meningococcal infection that is usually caused by a virus or bacteria. In British Columbia, there are 2 vaccines that can help protect against meningitis: the Meningococcal C Conjugate vaccine and the Meningococcal Quadrivalent vaccine.
The Meningococcal C Conjugate vaccine is provided free. It is recommended for children at 2 and 12 months of age. For more information, see HealthLinkBC File #23a Meningococcal C Conjugate Vaccine and the B.C. Immunization Schedules.
As of September 2016, the Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccine will be offered to all students in grade 9 as part of the routine immunization program in B.C. This will replace the current booster dose provided in grade 6. For more information, see HealthLinkBC File #23b Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccines. To learn more about both vaccines, visit ImmunizeBC.
The Meningitis B Vaccine Can Help Prevent This Deadly Illness
Weve told you the scary stuff, now heres the part where we give you some reassuring news. First, any form of meningococcal diseaseincluding meningitis Bis relatively rare, and incidents have been on the decline in the last few decades. The CDC says that in 2017, there were about 350 total cases of meningococcal disease reported. Thats 0.11 cases per 100,000 people.
The other good news is that you can reduce your childs risk of getting meningitis B by making sure they get the meningitis B vaccine. The reason that we vaccinate against things is that they are severe diseases, even if they occur rarely, Adam J. Ratner, M.D., director of the division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at NYU Langone and associate professor in both the department of Pediatrics and department of Microbiology at NYU Langone, tells SELF.
The meningitis B vaccine introduces your body to a specific part of the bacteria cell, combined with whats called an adjuvantan extra material that helps boost the effectiveness of the immune responseso your body learns to produce antibodies that target that bacteria. Your body does not see the whole bacteria, and so it’s impossible to get the infection from the vaccine itself, Dr. Vyas explains. Theres more than one meningitis B vaccine available, but both require at least two doses for maximum effectiveness.
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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 clinician about what is best for your specific situation.
How Do I Find Out The Side Effects For Different Vaccines
When you or a child gets a vaccine, the health care provider gives you a handout known as the Vaccine Information Statement . The VIS describes common and rare side effects, if any are known, of the vaccine. Your health care provider will probably discuss possible side effects with you. VIS downloads are also available through the CDCs website.
Package inserts produced by the vaccine manufacturer also provide information about adverse events. Additionally, these inserts usually show rates of adverse events in experimental and control groups during pre-market testing of the vaccine.
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Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccine
Before a vaccine became available for it, Haemophilus influenzae type b was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Hib is much less common today due to vaccinations.
Doctors usually administer the Hib vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. They will administer it again between the ages of 12 and 15 months.
The dosing regimen depends on the brand of vaccine an infant receives.
Doctors will give this vaccine either alone or as part of a combination vaccine.
Couple Whose Infant Son Died From Meningitis Has Message For Other Parents
Alex Dempsey and Gabriel Schultz thought their 4-month-old son, Killy, just had a normal fever when they picked him up from day care at the end of last month.
Twenty-four hours later, on June 30, Killy died from a form of bacterial meningitis, leaving the couple from Richmond, Virginia, grieving the loss of their only child together and looking to spread a message to other parents.
“We really want to encourage adults, teenagers, everyone to stay up to date on vaccinations,” Dempsey told TODAY. “Our big goal is if we can prevent another family from going through what we are, that’s what we want, in order to do right by our son.”
Dempsey, 27, said officials with the Virginia Department of Health have told her the working theory is that Killy was exposed to an asymptomatic carrier of the meningococcus bacteria during a visit to their pediatrician’s office. An asymptomatic carrier can carry the bacteria in his or her nose or throat despite not being sick.
The couple took Killy to get his routine 4-month vaccinations two days before he developed symptoms, which usually manifest themselves within two to 10 days of contracting meningitis.
The Virginia Department of Health cannot discuss the details of individual cases due to state health laws, VDH spokesperson Maribeth Brewster told TODAY.
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Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell the clinician if you or your child feel dizzy, have vision changes, or have ringing in the ears.
- Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where the clinician gave a shot. This happens very rarely.
- Any medicine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses. These reactions happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
- As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
What Are The Side Effects Of Meningococcal Vaccines
Mild side effects happen in about half those who get the vaccine. They may include redness or pain where the skin was injected. These side effects last no longer than 1 or 2 days.
Serious side effects are rare and can include high fever, weakness, and changes in behavior.
Severe allergic reactions may happen within minutes or hours of having the vaccination. These are signs of an allergic reaction:
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Volunteer In Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Dies Reportedly Did Not Receive Experimental Vaccine
RIO DE JANEIRO A Brazilian who participated in the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine has died, officials here said Wednesday.
Brazils National Health Surveillance Agency, which is overseeing multiple vaccine trials in a country suffering one of the worlds worst outbreaks, said the individual volunteered to receive the vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca.
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo, citing unnamed sources, reported that the volunteer was in a control group that did not receive the experimental vaccine and died of covid-19. The news service G1 said the volunteer was a 28-year-old physician who treated coronavirus patients in Rio de Janeiro.
The National Health Surveillance Agency said it was informed of the volunteers death Monday. The agency said AstraZenecas international safety committee had recommended the trial continue.
Under the trials protocol, half the participants receive the experimental vaccine, and half receive an established meningitis vaccine that has been proved safe. The trial, like others, is overseen by an independent board that reviews all adverse events. Any severe event that might have been caused by the vaccine would trigger a pause in the study for an investigation. The trial is not paused due to the death.
My decision is not to purchase such a vaccine, he added.