Make Schedule to Immunize Your Adolescent Against Meningitis

Make Schedule to Immunize Your Adolescent Against Meningiti

Many of the bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis are fairly common and are more often associated with other everyday illnesses. Sometimes, however, they spread to the meninges from an infection in another part of the body. The infection can start anywhere, including in the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or urinary system, but the most common source is the respiratory tract.


Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial, although rarely life-threatening.Viral meningitis can be caused by different viruses, and is spread between people by coughing or sneezing, or through poor hygiene. Other germs can be found in sewage polluted water.

Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency and has a high mortality rate if untreated. All suspected cases, however mild, need emergency medical attention. Empiric antibiotics must be started immediately, even before the results of the lumbar puncture and CSF analysis are known. Antibiotics started within 4 hours of lumbar puncture will not significantly affect lab results.Bacterial Meningitis symptoms : Fever, Headache, Stiff Neck, Fatigue ,Patients may also experience rash, sore throat or vomiting.

Bacterial meningitis remains a serious threat to global health, accounting for an estimated 171 000 deaths worldwide per year. Even with antimicrobial therapy and the availability of sophisticated intensive care, case fatality rates from bacterial meningitis remain at 5-10% in industrialized countries, and are even higher in the developing world. Between 10-20% of survivors develop permanent sequelae such as epilepsy, mental retardation or sensorineural deafness.

Despite the fact that a licensed pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine has been available for more than 30 years, Streptococcus pneumoniae continues to sicken and kill children and adults throughout the world each day. Pneumococcus-related illnesses including bacteremia, meningitis, and pneumonia affect both industrialized countries (see Figure) and developing countries. However, in developing countries the existence of a much larger burden of death from acute respiratory tract infection adds greater urgency to the situation.

Before the introduction of the conjugate vaccines, Haemophilus influenzae type b was the major cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States, and meningitis was primarily a disease of infants and young children."Adolescents and young adults accounted for a relatively high proportion of all cases of meningococcal meningitis, and that infection in this age group led to death more often than expected ;study resulted".

Meningitis epidemics caused by the pathogen Nesseiria meningitis (or meningococcus) provoke high mortality in children and young people under 20 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa;another study shown.Meningitis is contagious. The germs that cause it can be passed from one person to another through coughing and sneezing and through close contact.

It is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito during spring and summer months when mosquito activity is high, but it can also be spread by person-to-person contact.It is spread by "fairly intimate contact" such as sharing utensils or water bottles, or mouth-to-mouth contact.

Meningococcal infection can cause life-threatening illnesses, such as meningococcal meningitis, which affects the brain, and meningococcemia, which affects the blood. Some persons with meningococcal meningitis and/or meningococcemia also may die. The rate of these diseases peak in adolescence and early adulthood and are more likely to occur in persons with certain diseases or conditions that make them more susceptible to a meningococcal infection or more likely to develop serious problems from a meningococcal infection.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and the brain. Bacterial meningitis, which is much more severe than viral meningitis, is caused by a variety of bacteria, one of which is Neisseria meningitidis, also known as the meningococcus.Teenagers who engage in intimate kissing with multiple partners can quadruple their risk of contracting meningitis, researchers report.The behavioral aspects of meningitis protection, such as attending a religious event, may be more a matter of lifestyle rather than religion.

Two types of vaccine are currently on the market: the polysaccharide vaccine and the conjugated vaccine. The polysaccharide form, elaborated from a sugar present at the surface of the meningococcus provides only partial, temporary immunity in very young children .

The conjugated vaccine, however, is based on a combination between this same sugar and an antigenic protein and renders an effective durable immunity.

Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Wednesday that all teens between the ages of 11 and 18 be routinely vaccinated against potentially deadly bacterial meningitis.

The recommendation, issued by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, broadens the current guidelines for vaccinating adolescents and will be adopted by the agency, experts said.

"The prior recommendation had focused on different age groups," said Dr. Carol Baker, chairwoman of the committee's Meningococcal Working Group. "The new recommendation will be routine vaccination of all adolescents 11 through 18 years of age."

The earlier recommendation, which targeted only 15- to 18-year-olds, was made because vaccine supplies were limited, added Baker, who is president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

"The vaccine supply to be able to immunize this many adolescents is now sufficient," she said. "Now we will prevent many more infections."

Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but sometimes fatal bacterial infection that often strikes pre-adolescents, adolescents and young adults. The disease strikes quickly and has devastating complications, including hearing loss, brain damage, limb amputations and, in some cases, death.

"Vaccination is going to do a whole lot to reduce the incidence of this disease," said Lynn Bozof, executive director of the National Meningitis Association.

"The CDC's action will raise awareness ... among parents and adolescents that this disease is out there and it is potentially vaccine-preventable," she added.

The committee recommended that teens be routinely vaccinated with Menactra, the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) made by Sanofi Pasteur.

The vaccine has been proven to protect against up to 83 percent of meningococcal cases among adolescents, according to the National Meningitis Association.

"The CDC recognizes that all adolescents are at risk for this disease, and they are doing what is in the best interest of the public," Bozof, who lost a son to meningitis, said. "If this recommendation had been in place nine years ago, my son would be alive."

Meningitis is spread through the exchange of respiratory droplets, which can come from sharing a drink or utensils, kissing, or coughing and sneezing. Adolescents and young adults are at increased risk for the disease, which can be contracted in crowded living situations, such as dormitories, boarding schools and sleep-away camps.

Bozof believes all adolescents should be vaccinated. "You have a vaccine that can prevent the killer disease," she said. "To me it's a no-brainer -- you just go and protect your children."

The recent approval of a newer and better bacterial meningitis vaccine has prompted government health officials to expand their immunization recommendations.

But while the vast majority of nearly 700 children's doctors surveyed in the study are recommending the vaccine, which protects against bacterial meningitis and other diseases, almost one in three harbors concerns about the cost -- especially if many children they see don't have insurance that covers their shots.

The results are published in the issue of Pediatrics by researchers at the U-M Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every year, 1,400 to 2,800 people get meningococcal disease in the United States, and 10 to 14 percent of people with the disease die, according to the CDC. Of the survivors, 11 to 19 percent have permanent disabilities, such as mental retardation, hearing loss and limb amputation.

All students – especially those planning to live in residence halls – should consider getting the vaccination because they are at the greatest risk for meningitis, according to the CDC. Each year, between 100 and 125 meningitis cases occur on college campuses, with as many as 15 of the cases being fatal. The American College Health Association also recommends meningitis vaccination for all first year college students living in residence halls and other students under the age of 25 who wish to reduce their risk of meningitis infection.

College freshmen living in dorms are at the highest risk for meningitis, and high school seniors are being urged to consider getting the meningitis vaccination before they head off to college. Many college health facilities offer the vaccine. Adolescents are at increased risk if they are living in a dormitory situation .Those who live in crowded situations will benefit even more from the vaccine.Another expert agreed that vaccination is the best way to protect against meningitis.

People traveling to areas where meningitis is prevalent, such as the "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, should receive the Neisseria meningitidis vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination with a new vaccine (Menactra) that protects against certain strains of neisseria meningitidis for children ages 11 and 12, teens entering high school, and college freshman living in dormitories.

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