Meningitis vaccines: What parents need to know

Meningitis could be a very scary an infection — and vaccines will help forestall it.

What’s meningitis?

The meninges are a membrane that covers and protects the mind and spinal wire. When that membrane will get infected, it’s referred to as meningitis. One of many methods this irritation can occur is from an infection. Frequent signs of an an infection of the meninges are fever, headache, and a stiff neck.

There are various completely different germs that may infect the meninges. Viruses trigger most instances, and whereas this may be severe, most individuals with viral meningitis get higher with out remedy. Some could not even notice they’ve had meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis

Bacterial meningitis, however, might be lethal with out speedy medical remedy. In accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, yearly greater than 2,000 individuals get bacterial meningitis, and about 500 of them die.

Many various micro organism may cause meningitis. In america, the most typical are Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B streptococcus, Neisseria meningitides, Haemophilus influenzae, and Listeria monocytogenes.

We’ve vaccines to forestall in opposition to infections from Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis. The primary two are given in infancy as a part of the common vaccine collection. The final, in opposition to Neisseria, is normally given in adolescence, though it’s generally given earlier for youngsters with sure well being issues, earlier than touring to elements of the world the place the an infection is frequent, or throughout outbreaks.

Neisseria infections might be significantly fast and lethal, and generally happen in outbreaks, significantly when younger individuals stay collectively, equivalent to at sleep-away camps or in school dormitories. That’s why the vaccine is mostly given in adolescence.

There are two completely different sorts of vaccines in opposition to Neisseria meningitidis:

All youngsters needs to be vaccinated at 11 or 12 with one of many conjugate vaccines, with a booster dose at age 16. As for the serogroup B vaccine, teenagers ought to undoubtedly get it if

  • they’ve a complement deficiency (that is one thing that’s typically recognized by the teenage years).
  • they’ve a broken spleen, or the spleen has been eliminated.
  • they’re taking a drugs referred to as Soliris.
  • they’re at greater threat due to an outbreak.

Though most pediatricians solely use the serogroup B vaccine for teenagers at greater threat, wholesome teenagers can get it together with the conjugate vaccine. Mother and father who’re ought to discuss to their little one’s physician.

For the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra details about meningitis and the vaccines to forestall it.

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