What actually is Meningococcal Disease?
Meningococcal Disease is a devastating bacterial infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It is often accompanied by septicemia, when it spreads to the bloodstream
What are the symptoms of Meningococcal Disease?
Recognizing the symptoms could save your life. Early symptoms often present similar to influenza (flu), and are therefore misdiagnosed.
How do I get meningococcal Disease?
Meningococcal Disease is transmitted by respiratory and throat secretions. A person can carry this bacteria in the back of their throat and be asymptomatic, while still transmitting the bacteria. it is said that 10 percent of our population can be carriers. This percentage increases among certain populations and during an outbreak.
What should I do if I suspect that I or someone I love has meningococcal disease?
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have meningococcal disease, call 911 immediately and consider it a life or death situation.
How I'd Meningococcal Disease diagnosed?
Meningococcal Disease is diagnosed with a spinal lumbar puncture.
Is Meningoccal Disease contagious?
Yes, Meningococcal Disease is contagious. Any person that had contact with a patient will be treated with preventative antibiotics.
Once diagnosed, how is Meningococcal Disease treated?
Meningococcal Disease is treated with antibiotics. Early diagnosis often determines the prognosis.
Can you die from Meningococcal Disease?
YES- Meningococcal Disease is a hideous disease that kills 10 percent of its victims. of the survivors, another 20 percent will have long- term disabilities, including amputations, severe scarring, deafness, brain damage, and other serious neurological problems.
What can I do to protect myself and my loved ones?
There are things that we can all do to ensure we maintain a healthy immune system. We should eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, wash our hands frequently, never share drinks or eating utensils, and limit multiple kissing partners. All said, however, the most important way to protect ourselves and our families is by being VACCINATED.
I heard that Meningococcal Disease is a college Disease. Is that true?
No, Meningococcal Disease is NOT just a college disease. The college communities are said to be more at risk because of their lifestyle and their living arrangements. The same can be said about army barracks, and summer camps. That being said, meningococcal disease does not discriminate based on age, gender, or location.
Can adults get Meningococcal Disease?
Absolutely, adults can contract meningococcal disease if they are exposed to the bacteria.
Would you please clarify what vaccines are available to protect us from meningococcal disease?
Vaccines are now available to help protect against all serogroups of this disease. The Meningococcal conjugate (quadrivalent) vaccine offers protection against Serogroups A, C, W and Y. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this vaccine for all children at age 11, with a booster dose at age 16. The Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine is available for people ages 10 through 25. In June of 2015, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for permissive use of a MenB series for adolescents and young adults 16 through 23.
Do the vaccines have a live virus?
The meningococcal vaccines do not have a live virus in them.
Should I only worry about this disease if there is an outbreak?
Though the college campus outbreaks certainly get attention, the majority of the cases are the ones or twos all over the country that get no press. The time to consider the protection against this disease is before an outbreak occurs.
How long does the protection from these vaccines last?
The length of immunity from the quadrivalent vaccine is said to be about five years, which is why the booster dose is recommended at 16. The length of the immunity from the MenB vaccine has not yet been determined.
Will my insurance cover these vaccines?
Insurance should pay for the conjugate vaccine at the appropriate ages. Those choosing to receive a dose younger than 11 or after the 16/17 year old booster may not get coverage. As a result of the June, 2015, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vote, The Vaccines For Children (VFC) programs do pay for the MenB series. This will prompt the private carriers to follow.
I asked my child's pediatrician about the new MenB vaccines and they knew nothing about it. What should I do?
Unfortunately, some of our medical community does not stay as current as they should. We must be knowledgable and convey our desires to our health care provide. Please direct them to the CDC website and remember to be firm and persistent.
What is your opinion about vaccinating younger children?
It is our opinion that all people should be vaccinated from Meningococcal Disease at the earliest possible date, and maintain that protection throughout their life.
Is it true that they are using the MenB vaccines more broadly in other countries?
Yes, other countries will begin using the MenB series to protect infants beginning in September of 2015.