Meningococcal bacteria causes a disease that is commonly called meningitis or spinal meningitis.
Either a virus or bacteria can cause meningitis, but meningitis caused by the meningococcal bacteria can be quite severe. This bacteria is spread from person to person through secretions from the nose and mouth. The person spreading the bacteria may not show signs of infection. Meningitis most commonly occurs among teens and young adults with outbreaks in schools and community groups.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age should take the meningococcal vaccine.
According to the CDC, meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for other people (adults and children younger than age 11 years) who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease:
A meningococcal vaccine is usually injected into the arm with a needle. Talk with your physician regarding the number of doses of vaccine you will need to receive. Also, talk with your physician about the need for revaccination because the vaccine will provide immunity for only a certain number of years.
Will I live longer if I get the meningococcal vaccine?
Yes, it may help you to live longer if the meningococcal vaccine prevents you from getting spinal meningitis and from developing serious complications.
Will getting the meningococcal vaccine improve my quality of life?
Yes, if the meningococcal vaccine prevents you from getting spinal meningitis, you will be able to continue with your usual activities free of the symptoms and sickness caused by meningitis.
Will getting the meningococcal vaccine make my symptoms better?
If you get meningitis from a type of pathogen not covered by the meningococcal vaccine, it will not improve your symptoms.
How safe is this for me?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome among teens that have recently received the vaccine for spinal meningitis. The number of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome is not greater than would be expected in an unvaccinated teenage population. However, the timing and onset of neurological symptoms within two to five weeks following vaccination is a reason to gather further information. Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome should talk with his or her doctor before getting meningococcal vaccine.
Talk with your health care provider about your need for the meningococcal vaccine and its risks and benefits.
Minor reported complications:
Major reported complications - Anaphylactic reaction with any of the following:
Alternative prevention measures (behavioral modification) include:
Scientific evidence does not exist to show that herbal, homeopathic or other folk remedies have any benefit against meningitis
The cost of the meningococcal vaccine varies, but is approximately $75 to $115.
The cost for the treatment of meningitis with or without complications varies depending on the severity. The cost of treatment could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. In addition, loss of income and other financial considerations could affect you and your family.
The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.
The following are off-site links :
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, January). Recommendations and guidelines: 2012. Child & adolescent immunizations schedules for persons aged 0-6 years, 7-18 years, and “catch-up schedule.” Retrieved August 20, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/child-adolescent.html.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, January). 2012. Recommended adult immunization schedule. United States. Retrieved August 20, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/adult.html.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, July). CDC vaccine price list. Retrieved August 30, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm#pediatric.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, March). Meningococcal disease - prevention. Retrieved August 20, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html.
This document has been classified as public information.