What is Meningitis?

Meningoccocus infection is caused by a bacteria that is passed from person to person. Meningococcus causes meningitis outbreaks around the world, with annual epidemics in parts of Africa in persons of all ages.  Vaccination is required for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage each year in Saudi Arabia but is also recommended for travellers of all ages in some other high risk countries as well. This bacteria rapidly causes serious illness, even if it is suspected and the appropriate medications started, death or disability is not uncommon.

In Canada:

Due to the risk of certain types of meningococcus here at home, meningococcal A, C, Y, W135  vaccine is recommended routinely for adolescents. In Alberta it is given to grade 9 students starting in the 2010-11 school year. If you are 15-24 years old and were born in 1995 or earlier you would not have received this vaccine, and should consider getting it.

Recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) for the use of the new meningococcal B vaccine are here. It may be a consideration for some children, laboratory workers, and individuals with certain immune deficiencies.

 

Prevention

Meningococcal A, C, Y, W135 vaccine

Vaccine name: Menactra®, Menveo®, Nimenrix®

Minimum age: 2 months

Primary series: 1, 2 or 3 doses depending on age and product used

Booster: if at continued risk

Duration: 3-5 years

Price: $160 per dose

 

Meningococcal B vaccine

Vaccine name: Bexsero®

Minimum age: 2 months

Primary series: 2 or 3 doses depending on age

Booster: for infants

Duration: unknown

Price: $140 per dose

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