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What Does Meningitis Vaccine Prevent

What Is Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal vaccine explained – Dr Peter Richmond

Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus . Meningococcal disease is not very common in the United States, but teens and young adults are at increased risk.

The two most common types of infections are

  • Infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord
  • Infections of the bloodstream
  • Vaccines For Meningococcal Disease

    There are a number of vaccines available which protect against different types of meningococcal disease. There is no one vaccine that can protect against all of the types of meningococcal disease. Different vaccines are required to protect against the most common types of meningococcal disease one to protect against meningococcal group A,C,W & Y disease, and another vaccine to protect against meningococcal group B disease. There is also a separate vaccine available to protect against meningococcal group C disease.

    What Causes Meningitis And Encephalitis

    Infectious causes of meningitis and encephalitis include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. For some individuals, environmental exposure , recent travel, or an immunocompromised state are important risk factors. There are also non-infectious causes such as autoimmune/rheumatological diseases and certain medications.


    Bacterial meningitis is a rare but potentially fatal disease. Several types of bacteria can first cause an upper respiratory tract infection and then travel through the bloodstream to the brain. The disease can also occur when certain bacteria invade the meninges directly. Bacterial meningitis can cause stroke, hearing loss, and permanent brain damage.

    Other forms of bacterial meningitis include Listeria monocytogenes meningitis Escherichia coli meningitis, which is most common in elderly adults and newborns and may be transmitted to a baby through the birth canal and Mycobacterium tuberculosis meningitis, a rare disease that occurs when the bacterium that causes tuberculosis attacks the meninges.

    Fungal infections can affect the brain. The most common form of fungal meningitis is caused by the fungus cryptococcus neoformans . Cryptococcal meningitis mostly occurs in immunocompromised individuals such as those with AIDS but can also occur in healthy people. Some of these cases can be slow to develop and smolder for weeks. Although treatable, fungal meningitis often recurs in nearly half of affected persons.


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    Keep Your Distance From Infected People

    The bacteria found in nose and throat secretions can also spread through coughing and sneezing. You could get meningitis if you’re close enough to an infected person to come in direct contact with these secretions. If someone you know has a respiratory infection, keep at least 3 feet away to stay out of the line of fire of any coughing, Vassallo says. Likewise, when you cough or sneeze, be kind to others: Bury your head in your elbow so that your spray goes into your sleeve and no further, then wash your hands. Keep in mind that bacterial meningitis isn’t that easily transmittable. You won’t get meningitis simply by breathing in the air where a sick friend or family member has been.

    Meningitis Prevention: Types Of Meningococcal Vaccines Available

    Meningitis Vaccine

    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

    MPSV4and MCV4can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, which make upabout 70% of the casesin the U.S.

    TheMenBvaccines prevent the Meningococcal B strain.

    MCV4 is preferred for peopleage 55and younger.The recommendation for teens isone 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 doctoror nurse injects one dose beneath the skin.

    MPSV4is the onlymeningococcal vaccineapproved for use in people over 55.

    The MenB vaccines are also recommended for people ages 16-18 who are not high risk, and for high-risk patientsages10-24. The vaccine may also be used in older adults. Trumenba is administered in three doses while Bexsero requires two doses.

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    Haemophilus Influenzae Type B/hib

    Hib vaccines protect against Haemophilus Influenzae Type B.

    The Hib vaccine is on the National Immunisation Plan in Australia and is given at 2months, 4 months, 6 months and 18 months.

    Conjugated Hib vaccines are highly effective in preventing Hib disease and are recommended for routine use in all infants.

    Which Children Cannot Be Given The Pentavalent Vaccine

    The pentavalent vaccine usually has no specific side effects, but children who have experienced a severe reaction after the first dose are not given another dose. Apart from this, children who do not experience any problem after vaccination are given the next dose. However, this vaccine is not given to children beyond one year of age it is only given to young infants who are one to two and a half months old.

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    How Common Is Meningococcal Disease

    Meningococcal disease is rare, striking annually about 1 in every 100,000 people in the general population. Rates in adolescents and young adults have increased over the last 10 years. The rate of meningococcal infection for students living in residence halls in the U.S. is about 2 in every 100,000 students. The rate of infection is highest among first year students living in residence halls, with about 5 in every 100,000 freshmen infected.

    U-M reported a case of meningococcal meningitis in December 2014, November 2005 and in October 1995.

    How Does Meningococcal Disease Occur

    Where Can I Get the Meningococcal Vaccine?

    Approximately 10% of the general population carry meningococcal bacteria in the nose and throat in a harmless state. This carrier state may last for days or months before spontaneously disappearing, and it seems to give people who harbor the bacteria in their upper respiratory tracts some protection from developing meningococcal disease.

    During meningococcal disease outbreaks, close to 95% of people may carry the bacteria, yet less than 1% of people develop meningococcal disease. This low occurrence of disease following exposure suggests that a person’s own immune system, in addition to bacterial factors, plays a key role in allowing the disease to develop.

    Meningococcal bacteria cannot usually live for more than a few minutes outside the body. As a result, they are not easily transmitted in water supplies, swimming pools, or by routine contact with an infected person in a classroom, dining room, bar, rest room, etc.

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    How Are Cvs Pharmacy And Minuteclinic Different

    At the pharmacy, vaccinations for adolescents through seniors are administered by certified immunizationâtrained pharmacist. Age and state restrictions apply. No appointment necessary.

    At MinuteClinic, vaccinations for children through seniors are administered by a nurse practicioner. View wait times and schedule a visit online, or walk in anytime.

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    Who Should Not Get Vaccinated Or Should Wait

    • Anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of MCV4 or MPSV4 vaccine or diphtheria vaccine
    • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any vaccine component
    • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should wait until they recover before receiving the vaccine
    • For more information on additional warnings and precautions visit

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    When Is The Pentavalent Vaccine Given

    • The pentavalent vaccine is designed to protect children from problems such as diphtheria, pertussis , hepatitis B, tetanus, pneumonia, meningitis. This vaccine is given to an infant who is one to three and a half months old. The exact age of vaccination is indicated.
    • For example, the first dose is given at six weeks of age, the second dose is given at ten weeks old, and the third dose is given at fourteen weeks of age.
    • In India, the infant can be vaccinated with the pentavalent vaccine within six months to one year of age.

    When Are Meningococcal Vaccines Given

    Figure 2

    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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    What Is Meningitis What Is Encephalitis

    Infections and other disorders affecting the brain and spinal cord can activate the immune system, which leads to inflammation. These diseases, and the resulting inflammation, can produce a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headache, seizures, and changes in behavior or confusion. In extreme cases, these can cause brain damage, stroke, or even death.

    Inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, is called meningitis inflammation of the brain itself is called encephalitis. Myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord. When both the brain and the spinal cord are involved, the condition is called encephalomyelitis.

    Meningitis B Is A Rare But Very Serious Disease

    As the Mayo Clinic explains, meningitis is inflammation of the membrane that surrounds your brain and spinal cord . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , meningitis B is caused by the bacteria N. meningitidis. Illnesses caused by this bacteria are referred to broadly as meningococcal diseases.

    The B in meningitis B refers to a serogroupa subtypeof N. meningitidis. The CDC notes that the five other serogroups that most commonly cause meningococcal disease are A, C, W, X, and Y.

    The CDC explains that N. meningitidis already lives in the mouths and throats of about 10 percent of the population without causing any problems. It can be spread through spit and saliva, but is less contagious than viruses like the common cold or flu. It takes close, prolonged contact, e.g., kissing someone who is a meningitis B carrier, or being in the same room with them for a prolonged period of time while theyre coughing. Outbreaks are rare, but when they do occur, its often among people in cramped living conditions, such as army barracks or college dorms.

    These are the main symptoms, as defined by the CDC, but this disease can often present in a more nuanced wayyou can read more about meningitis B symptoms here:

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • A stiff neck

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    What Is Bacterial Meningitis

    Knowing more about bacterial meningitis can help you understand why addressing symptoms right away is so important.

    Bacterial meningitis is caused when bacteria get into the bloodstream and then travel to the brain or spinal cord, causing the meninges to become inflamed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the bacteria that cause meningitis can be transmitted in a variety of ways, including from mother to infants during birth, through spit , or consuming food prepared by someone who didn’t wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom.

    Bacterial meningitis is considered more dangerous than viral meningitis, which is more common and often clears up on its own without treatment, notes the CDC. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can progress quickly and become deadly in as little as a few hours. Those who recover may be left with long-term disabilities, including hearing loss, brain damage, and learning disabilities, the CDC points out.

    While there are many types of bacteria that can cause meningitis, three types are responsible for the majority of cases, according to the NORD, including Haemophilus influenzae , Streptococcus pneumoniae , and Neisseria meningitidis . It’s that last oneâmeningococcusâthat tends to cause the meningitis rash, according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. And it is known to spread rapidly and cause severe symptoms.

    • Bulging in the “soft spot” of their head
    • Abnormal reflexes

    Meningococcal Disease Is A Medical Emergency:

    Meningococcal Vaccine Benefits & Side Effects – First With Kids – Vermont Children’s Hospital

    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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    What Are The Options For Meningococcal Vaccine

    Meningococcal vaccine is highly effective at protecting against four strains of the meningococcal bacteria. Three strains are common in the United States and the fourth strain protects travelers to certain countries where the disease is more common.

    The MenACWY vaccine does not contain the meningococcal B strain that is more commonly found in infants and may cause some cases in adolescents. There is an additional vaccine, meningococcal B vaccine , that contains the B strain. If your clinic does not carry the MenB vaccine, you can ask them to order it for you, or to refer you to another clinic that has the vaccine. Talk to your health care provider about getting this additional vaccine.

    Young People Starting University Aged 25 Or Under

    Various sub groups of meningococcal disease can spread quickly in areas where people live closely to each other:

    • in university halls of residence
    • in shared accommodation

    If youre aged 25 or under, about to start university for the first time and havent yet had the MenACWY vaccination, you should ask your GP for the vaccine. Even if you have previously received the Men C vaccine you should still now ask for the MenACWY vaccine.

    Ideally, you should get the vaccine at least two weeks before you start university. If you dont get the vaccine before going to university you should contact a GP in the university health centre and arrange to get the vaccine.

    You can ask your GP, practice nurse or university health centre for more information about the vaccine.

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    How Are These Disorders Transmitted

    Some forms of bacterial meningitis and encephalitis are contagious and can be spread through contact with saliva, nasal discharge, feces, or respiratory and throat secretions . For example, people sharing a household, at a day care center, or in a classroom with an infected person can become infected. College students living in dormitoriesin particular, college freshmenhave a higher risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis than college students overall. Children who have not been given routine vaccines are at increased risk of developing certain types of bacterial meningitis.

    Because these diseases can occur suddenly and progress rapidly, anyone who is suspected of having either meningitis or encephalitis should immediately contact a doctor or go to the hospital.

    How Can I Protect My Child

    Bacterial meningitis: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

    There are three kinds of meningococcal vaccine available in Canada. Each vaccine provides different protection:

    • Meningococcal C vaccine is usually given to babies and young children. It protects against type C of the meningococcus germ, which used to be very common before this vaccine was available.
    • MCV-4 protects against 4 types of the meningococcal germ . This vaccine is usually only given to people at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease . In some provinces it is given to all teenagers.
    • Meningococcal B vaccine protects children against type B. This vaccine is not given routinely but is usually given to children at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease.

    Your doctor will know which vaccine is best for your child, and at what age.

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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.

    Who Should Get The Meningococcal Vaccines

    All children ages 11 through 12 years should receive meningococcal vaccine followed by a booster dose at age 16 years. Vaccination is also recommended for all adolescents ages 13 through 18 years who did not receive a dose at age 11-12 years.

    Individuals ages 2 months and older who have certain conditions that weaken their immune system should receive meningococcal vaccine, including teens who are HIV positive. These persons should also receive booster shots every three to five years depending on their age. Talk to your health care provider if your preteen or teen has a condition that makes it harder for their body to fight off infection.

    The MenB vaccine may also be given at age 16 years along with the MenACWY booster dose. MenB vaccine is also recommended for children age 10 years and older with certain high-risk conditions. The number of doses needed depends on the product used and if your child has a high-risk condition. Talk to your health care provider about this additional vaccine.

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