The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved the recommendation of new vaccine to control Meningitis B.
The initial symptoms of meningitis B are severe cold, flu associated with headaches, nausea, and high fever. It can also cause inflammation and swelling in the brain and spinal cord. As days progress, it can lead to brain damage. Meningitis B has lead to the death of 10 to 15 percent of patients though they were given antibiotics.
According to the previous recommendation, only lab workers and students at colleges should get vaccinated since they were at an increased risk of developing the disease whereas now, the advisory committee on immunization recommends that youth who fall in 16-23 age groups should get the vaccine shot after consulting with their doctor.
Over the past few years, world has seen many deaths due to Meningitis B. People who live in dorms and who spend time in crowded areas seem to be at an increased risk.
There are vaccines for Meningitis A, C, W and Y which should be administered from the age 11 or 12, plus a booster should be given at the age of 16. But it was complex to find a vaccine that fights Meningitis B.
The bacteria are generally found in environment, moreover it can be found in respiratory organs. They are transmitted through saliva and mucous while kissing and coughing. The disease can spread when you share a bottle of water too.
Last autumn, the Food and Drug Administration permitted the use of two vaccines to prevent the fifth strain of bacterial meningitis and prescribed its use only for the people who showed high risk of developing this disease. However, now the vaccine can be given to anyone if the respective patient and doctor consider it appropriate.
Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist, Vanderbilt University encourages the federal health officials on vaccine recommendations.
Schaffner names the new recommendation as “a signal to all private insurers that this vaccine should be covered.” Under this recommendation, Vaccines for Children Program, an immunization program funded by the central government, to help the lower income families, will bear the cost of the vaccine.
Schaffner adds that the colleges and universities can make it compulsory for the new joinees to get vaccinated.
There are some questions which need to be answered, once answered; the committee is likely to expand the recommendation further.
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