The Center for Disease Control (CDC) meningitis statistics for the U.S. reveals that each year approximately 2600 people develop some form of invasive meningococcal disease.
What Is Meningitis?
In the United States meningitis bacteria are the leading cause of meningococcal disease in children between the ages of 2 and 18. Meningitis bacteria can cause serious blood infections and potentially fatal illness infecting the fluid surrounding the spinal cord the lining of the brain.
One out of every ten people with meningitis will die and of those who survive, 11 – 15% will suffer serious medical issues ranging from loss of limbs, deafness, seizures and strokes to brain disorders or nervous system problems.
While humans are the only known host for meningococcal disease, the good news is that most types of bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis can be prevented with a meningococcal vaccine.
Meningitis Vaccine - Menactra
The new meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) called Menactra is the first quadrivalent conjugate meningococcal vaccine and was licensed in 2005 for active immunization against meningitis bacteria.
Meningococcal vaccines are not effective for all types of meningococcal diseases; however Menactra is a polysaccharide diphtheria toxoid conjugate vaccine that offers long lasting protection against 4 types of meningococcal diseases:
Serogroup A Serogroup C
Serogroup Y Serogroup W-135
Immunizing Against Meningitis
Immunization with the meningitis vaccine Menactra (MCV4) may be given at the same time as other vaccines and is recommended for people between 11 and 55 years of age.
Children aged 11 to 12 years should be given priority for immunization against meningococcal disease however ACIP higher risk recommendations also include all unvaccinated high school entry adolescents (15 years of age) and all college freshmen who live in dormitories.
For children ages 2 – 10 years and for adults over 55 the recommended meningitis vaccine is the MPSV4.
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