Have you ever worried that your child had meningitis? That headache, fever and stiff neck — could they be the real thing?
Sure you’ve worried — that’s your job. It’s also your job to know about the vaccines that help protect your child against this dreaded disease.
Current vaccines may help protect against meningitis caused by three different bacteria:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Routine childhood vaccination against Hib over the last decade has dramatically cut down on the number of cases of meningitis and other serious infections caused by these bacteria.
Doctors also expect to see a decline in cases of meningitis, blood infections, pneumonia and ear infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae now that a vaccine against these bacteria has recently become part of the standard childhood immunization schedule.
That leaves Neisseria meningitidis, the cause of meningococcal disease. What about this one? Are kids routinely vaccinated against this bacterium?пїЅ
The answer is no, but that is in keeping with current recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Then who gets this vaccine? What about your kid?
It turns out that several groups of people should get this vaccine. One group, which deserves special consideration, is college freshmen living in dormitories, since they are at an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.
The Basics of Meningococcal Disease
Meninigococcal disease can take the form of:
Bacteremia — bacteria in the bloodstream
Meningococcemia — bacteria in the bloodstream with rash and sepsis (overwhelming infection)
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