Meningitis Vaccination

flu shot injectionMeningococcal disease is a potentially severe illness caused by the bacterium Neisseria Meningitidis, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis and sepsis in the United States.

N. meningitidis is also a cause of epidemics of meningitis and bacteremia in sub- Saharan Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that meningococcal disease was the cause of 171,000 deaths worldwide in 2000.

Meningitis Vaccinations

According to the CDC, it is important to get vaccinated against the disease between the ages of 11 and 12 with a booster dose at 16 years old.

There are two kinds of meningococcal vaccines in the United States, meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), which is the preferred vaccine from people 2 through 55 years of age and meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4).

Both vaccines are supposed to prevent 4 types of meningococcal diseases including 2 of the 3 most common types in the United States.

The meningitis vaccination is also recommended for individuals who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease such as microbiologists who are exposed to N. meningitides.  military recruits, and people who travel from the U.S to foreign countries ..

Meningitis Vaccinations: Side Effects

According to the CDC mild problems were reported within two weeks of getting vaccinated. The problems include:riskmag

  • headaches, upper respiratory tract infection (about 1 person in 3)
  • stuffy nose, sore throat, joint pain (about 1 person in 6)
  • abdominal pain, cough, nausea (about 1 person in 7)
  • diarrhea (about 1 person in 10)
  • fever (about 1 person in 100)

More serious problems have been reported by about 1 person in 100 within 6 months of vaccination. The problems include:

  • blood in the urine or stool
  • pneumonia
  • inflammation of the stomach or intestines

If you experience any of these side effects after vaccination visit your local health care provider to discuss treatment.


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