There have been new updates regarding meningitis and the Menactra vaccine which is available for children 11 years if age and older. Please read below and check out the links for further information.
Public Health authorities recommend that teenagers and college-bound students be immunized against a potentially fatal bacterial infection called meningococcal disease, a type of meningitis.
Menigococcal disease is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection that can casue severe swelling of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or a serious blood infection(meningococcemia). Meningococcal disease strikes up to 3000 Americans each year; nearly 30% of these cases are among teenagers and college students. Up to 83% of all cases among teens and college students may potentially be prevented through immunization, the most effective way to prevent this disease. A meningococcal vaccine is availble that protects against four out of five strains of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading medical organizations recommends that all 11-12 year-olds should be vaccinated with meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4). A booster shot is recommended for teens at age 16 to continue providing protection when their risk for meningococcal disease is at its highest. Teens who receive MCV4 for th first time at age 13-5 will need a one-time booster dose at 16-18 years of age. If a teenager missed getting the vaccine altogether, they should ask the doctor about getting it now, especially if they are about to move into a college dorm or military barracks.