Meningococcal vaccine now recommended for ages 11 to 18

Recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), that all young people aged 11 to 18 should get a shot that protects them from the most dangerous type of meningitis, has been applauded by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

Meningococcal disease is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in toddlers, adolescents and young adults in the U.S.

The symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and sometimes a rash may appear.

The disease is speedy and can lead to death or permanent disability, including hearing loss, brain damage and limb amputations within hours of the first symptoms appearing.

It involves the inflammation of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and is a more serious infection than viral meningitis.

The CDC says the best means of preventing meningococcal disease is by vaccination and the updated guidelines are based on data showing an increased risk for the disease among adolescents and young adults 11-18 years of age.

The recommendation are aimed at protecting new college students, who have a higher-than-average risk of bacterial meningitis.

The NFID says the recommendations will help drastically reduce the incidence of meningococcal disease among this age group and save lives.

The CDC estimates there are 1,400 to 2,800 cases of meningococcal disease every year in the United States which has a 15 percent fatality rate if treated with antibiotics.

Another meningitis vaccine, MPSV4, is recommended for certain high-risk children from the ages of 2 through 10 and there are vaccines to prevent meningitis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria.

For more information about meningococcal disease or the new recommendations, please visit the NFID (http://www.nfid.org/) or CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/) Web sites.

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