In its most simple definition, meningitis is a brain infection and those who survive it are often left mentally and physically impaired.
Meningitis in its many forms ranks as a devastating, life altering and often fatal disease. In its most simple definition, meningitis is a brain infection and those who survive it are often left mentally and physically impaired.
The good news is effective vaccines can prevent some of the most serious types of meningitis infections.
MENINGITIS TEEN YEARS
This dreaded infection can be rapidly fatal. The bacteria Neisseria meningitidis causes this type of meningitis. All children age 11 through 12 years should get one shot of MenACWY vaccine with a booster at age 16. In addition, the CDC recommends MenB vaccine for teenagers 16 – 18.
MENINGITIS 1 TO 5 YEARS
Haemophilus Influenza B or Hib:
This bacteria most commonly infects children in the first five years of life.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children age 12 to 15 months receive a single dose of the Hib vaccine. Prior to 1980, Haemophilus influenza B infection was common. The vaccine is so effective, children are now much less frequently infected by virtue of aggressive immunization campaigns.
Group B Strep meningitis:
This infection occurs in newborns. Although there is no vaccine to prevent this disease, it can be prevented. Moms receiving prenatal care at 36 weeks should be cultured for this common and usually harmless vaginal microbe. If culture positive, mothers can receive antibiotics during labor and delivery to prevent spread to her newborn.
E. Coli & Listeria:
These two meningitis causing bacteria can invade the nervous systems of newborns during the first three months of life. There is no vaccine or known way to prevent this infection. Parents should be watchful for the symptoms – fever, irritability, lethargy, lack of appetite, and poor response to stimulation. In the presence of these or other concerning symptoms, children under three months of life should be taken promptly to a hospital emergency department for evaluation.
Confederation of Meningitis Organizations, 2019. World Meningitis Day. Online [available at]: http://www.comomeningitis.org/ Accessed April 23, 2019.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019. Immunization Schedules. Online [available at]: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html Accessed April 23, 2019.