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The Different Vaccines for Meningitis

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Meningitis related image Photo: Getty Images

Meningitis is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. Patients with this neurological disorder have an inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Meningitis can be caused by a virus, bacterium or other factor, such as a fungus or inflammatory disease.

Viral meningitis is the most common type of the disease and is usually non-lethal, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Bacterial meningitis is potential fatal and several vaccines are available for specific types.

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine

Before the introduction of the vaccine, haemophilus meningitis was the most common type of bacterial meningitis, noted the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. MedlinePlus added that currently, this type of bacterial meningitis occurs in less than 2 out of every 100,000 children and in 5 to 10 percent of adults.

Caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenza, haemophilus meningitis can cause a severe headache, mental status changes, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. The Hib vaccine is part of the regular schedule of vaccines for children, which starts at about age 2 months.

The MayoClinic.com noted that some adults should also get the vaccine if they have not previously, including adults with AIDS, sickle cell disease or people without a spleen.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV7) and Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV)

Each year in the United States, 6,000 cases of pneumococcal meningitis are reported, which is the most serious type of bacterial meningitis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia, pneumococcal meningitis causes death in 20 percent of patients and long-term neurological complications in 25 to 50 percent of patients, added MedlinePlus.

Two vaccines are available for pneumococcal meningitis: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV). PCV7 is part of the regular immunization schedule for children, and is also recommended for children at high risk for this disease between the ages of 2 and 5, noted the MayoClinic.com. Children who are older or adults, they may get the PPSV instead.

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4) and Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (MPSV4)

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke noted that meningococcal meningitis occurs in 2,600 people in the United States each year and is common among children ages 2 to 18; in people who get this type of bacterial meningitis, 10 to 15 percent die and 10 to 15 percent suffer from brain damage.

Two vaccine options are available: meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4). MCV4 is given to children ages 11 to 12, with a booster given at age 16, though the vaccine may be given to children up to age 18 if they have not been vaccinated yet or to younger children who are at high risk. MPSV4 is in an option for adults who have not been vaccinated.


MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Meningitis – H. influenza. Web. 16 November 2011

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Meningitis – Pneumococcal. Web. 16 November 2011

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Meningitis and Encephalitis Fact Sheet. Web. 16 November 2011

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal: Who Needs to be Vaccinated?. Web. 16 November 2011

MayoClinic.com. Meningitis: Prevention. Web. 16 November 2011

Reviewed November 17, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

The Meningitis Foundation of America (MFA), a national organization, would like the public & media to know that information is available regarding the diagnosis, treatment & prevention of meningitis. MFA was founded in 1997 by parents whose children were affected by meningitis. In addition to supporting vaccination & preventing meningitis, the MFA provides information to educate the public & medical professionals so that the early diagnosis, treatment &, most important, prevention of meningitis, will save lives. Meningitis is a dangerous & often times fatal inflammation of the brain &/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems MFA would like to be considered as a news resource for the disease. For further information, visit the MFA website at www musa org.

Thank you,
Box 1818
El Mirage AZ 85335
480 270 2652
World Meningitis Day 24 April 2011
www comoonline org

November 17, 2011 - 11:22am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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