The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lately appears to have assumed a role that was never intended: reducing the ability of vaccines to save lives. Next week we’ll see whether this trend continues, as the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes critical recommendations about vaccination to prevent an often-lethal disease of children and adolescents.
Meningococcal disease is a rare but devastating illness caused by a bacterium, , which primarily affects infants and children. It is both unpredictable and deadly, killing 10-15 percent of those who contract it. Among those who survive, as many as 1 in 5 will suffer permanent disability from amputations, seizures, paralysis or hearing loss. Its onset is rapid, and it can be fatal within 24 to 48 hours of the first non-specific symptoms.