Treatment Options

Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine

Significant Value

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:

  • College freshmen living in dormitories
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria
  • U.S. military recruits
  • Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa
  • Anyone whose spleen has been removed
  • Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder)
  • People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak

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.

Things to Consider

  • Each year in the United States about 2,600 people get meningococcal disease.
  • About 10 to 15 percent of the people with meningococcal disease die.
  • About 11 to 19 percent of people who survive meningococcal disease have permanent disabilities such as mental retardation, deafness and loss of limbs.
  • Talk with your health care provider about your need for the meningococcal vaccine and its risks and benefits.

Results

Significant Value

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.

Safety

Moderate Value

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:

  • Chills
  • Fever over 37.8 degrees C or 100 degrees F
  • Redness, tenderness, lump, soreness or pain at the injection site
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Headache
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness

Major reported complications - Anaphylactic reaction with any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Itching, especially on soles of feet or palms of hands
  • Reddening of skin, especially around ears
  • Hives
  • Unusual sudden severe tiredness or weakness
  • Swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose

Comparison

Significant Value

Alternative prevention measures (behavioral modification) include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaner especially after you cough or sneeze. The alcohol-based hand cleaner should be rubbed until it is dry
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the used tissue away and wash your hands
  • Do not share plates, cups or eating utensils 
  • Avoid exposure to people who are sick, coughing, or sneezing 
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or nose
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stay home if you are sick to help prevent the spread of your illness

Scientific evidence does not exist to show that herbal, homeopathic or other folk remedies have any benefit against meningitis

Cost

Significant Value

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.

Sources

The following are off-site links off-site link :

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013. January). Recommendations and guidelines: 2013. Birth – 18 years and “catch-up” schedule. United States. Retrieved August 12, 2013 from; 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. (2013, January). 2013. by vaccine and age group. United States. Retrieved August 12, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, July). CDC vaccine price list. Retrieved August 12, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/awardees/vaccine-management/price-list/index.html.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, March). Meningococcal disease - prevention. Retrieved August 12, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html.

Next Review Date

8/22/2014

This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  significant value

safety:  moderate value

comparison:  significant value

cost: significant value


total: significant value

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scale

Page modified:November 9, 2012