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Meningitis Vaccination:

1. What is Meningitis disease?

Meningitis is a critical disease which causes infection of the meninges, the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord. This infection is caused by bacteria. The acute bacterial Meningitis often causes hearing losses and is almost fatal in about 5-40% of children and 20-50% of adults, even after getting treated with sufficient antibiotics. These bacteria usually spread from an ear or respiratory infection. This inflammation caused by the infection extends damaging the nervous system as per the experiments in this field.

Meningitis disease is mostly witnesses in children of 2 to 18 years of age in USA and it can also result in blood infections. In US alone, around 2,600 people get infected from this disease annually out of which, 5-10% dies. Around 11-19 percent of the survivors of this disease loses their limbs, suffers deafness, has problems with nervous systems and becomes mentally retarded or suffers strokes or seizures.

People most likely to get infected of this disease is the college freshmen who live in dormitories or the infants with certain medical situations, for example, lack of spleen, etc. This infection can be countered with drugs like penicillin. Even though, the death rate is 10% after getting all the necessary treatment. Hence, prevention in this case is much more significant than the cure.

There are two vaccines available for the Meningitis disease in the USA, namely M.P.S.V.4 or Menomune (Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine) which received license in 1970s and M.C.V.4 or Menactra (Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine) which is available since 2005 and has a longer protective efficacy compared to the earlier vaccine. Menactra also helps in preventing the contagious nature of the disease. Both of these meningitis vaccinations are capable of preventing 4 different types of meningococcal disease. Out of these 4 types, 2 of the 3 types occur most commonly in USA and a type is one which causes epidemic in Africa. Meningitis vaccine may not be able to prevent all types of this disease but it is still favorable than not being meningitis vaccinated at all. As per the statistics, both these meningitis vaccines have succeeded in protecting more than 90 percent of the people who got administered with these meningitis vaccinations.

2. Who should get meningitis vaccine and when?

Menactra is strongly recommended for:

1. All the children at their preadolescent visits that is between 11 to 12 years of age.

2. For children who have never received the vaccine, a dose is mandatorily recommended at high-school entry age.

3. College freshmen living in dormitories

4. Microbiologists who are exposed to meningococcal bacteria

5. Military recruits

6. Persons with damaged spleen or whose spleen has been removed

7. Travellers to parts where the meningitis disease is common, such as Africa

8. Persons having an immune system disorder, such as terminal complement component deficiency.

A dose of Menectra is meant for people between 11 to 55 years of age. However, Menomune can be used in absence of Menectra. However for children from 2 to 10 years of age and the persons at high risk, Menomune is the recommended vaccine.

3. How many doses should be administered?

Single dose of meningitis vaccine is recommended for the people of 2 years of age and older. Additional doses may be given to the persons with high risk, after medical consultation.

Under certain cases, a double dose of Menomune, at an interval of 3 months may be recommended for children of 3 months to 2 years.

4. Who should not get a meningitis vaccine and who all should wait for the vaccine?

1. Persons with severe allergic reactions to earlier dose of meningitis vaccine

2. Persons with allergy to any of the vaccine component

3. Sick or ill persons should wait for the meningitis vaccine till complete recovery

4. Meningitis vaccine should be administered to pregnant women, only if required

5. Meningitis vaccine may be given at the same time along with other vaccines

5.What are the risks or side-effects from meningitis vaccine?

Risks associated are comparatively negligible for the meningitis vaccine. Redness of the skin or slight pain at the injection spot is mild side-effects of the vaccine, which hardly last for more than a couple of days. Side-effects are less likely to occur after the vaccination of Menomune than after Menactra. Severe side effects rarely witnessed are serious allergic reactions.

6. What symptoms should I look for?

1. Signs of serious allergic reaction such as weakness, faster heartbeat, dizziness, paleness, hoarseness, wheezing or difficulty in breathing.

2. Normal symptoms can be unusual conditions such as high fever or behavior changes.

7. What should I do?

You need to consult a doctor right away in such cases and describe the symptoms or problems in detail with the meningitis vaccination timings.

8.How can I learn more?

Please consult the doctor or nurse for further details. They can furnish you the details about the disease, meningitis vaccination procedures or guide you through the other sources of information. Alternatively, you may call your local health department.

For Meningitis Vaccination, Hyderabad - India Please Contact : +91-9014243939, +91-9347480077