Meningitis is a swelling of the membranes or the covers of the brain. When these membranes become infected, they start to swell, putting pressure on the spinal cord or brain and causing life-threatening complications. The symptoms strike speedily and suddenly.
Meningitis can be caused by both virus and bacteria. But bacterial meningitis is more dangerous and can lead to brain damage.
Meningitis can result in long-term disability and death. The complications can be many including neurologic disorders , fits, hearing or visual loss, mental deficits, and loss of limbs. 1
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get meningitis, but some age groups are at much higher risk. Children in the age group of 1-5 years and teenagers are especially at risk.
Why is a vaccine required?
Meningitis is a serious and a potentially life-threatening situation. India has faced sporadic (infrequent) outbreaks of meningococcal disease caused by serogroup A meningococci for the last many decades.2
A vaccination can protect you and your loved ones during an outbreak or if you are planning to travel to areas where the chance of catching this infection is high.
Who should get the vaccine?
The meningococcal vaccine is recommended in US and other countries for pre-teens and teens because they have the highest rates of carrying this disease and transmitting it to others. 3
What is the schedule for this vaccine 5
Quadrivalent conjugate and polysaccharide can be given only to children who are 2 years old and above
Monovalent Group A conjugate PsA-TT can be given in children above 1 year of age
Does it have any side effects? 6
Meningococcal vaccine is very safe and have has been used for decades. So, it can be safely administered if your doctor recommends it.
Generally, this vaccine does not have any major side effects. However, some minor adverse effects like redness at the site of injection, mild fever and pain at the site may occur.
How effective is this vaccine?
The conjugated vaccine is considered to be very effective in preventing meningitis infection and other associated complications and has brought about a drop in this serious disease in many countries. 7
- Infect Dis Ther. 2016 Jun; 5(2): 89–112.
- Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Dec;15(12):1421-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02660.x. Epub 2010 Nov 5.
- Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016 May 3; 15(5): 641–658.
- Clin. Microbiol. Rev. January 2006 vol. 19 no. 1 142-164
- CNS Drugs. 2007;21(5):355-66.