Bacterial meningitis (infection around the spinal cord and brain) or sepsis (infection in the blood stream) is an extremely serious illness. The bacterium Neisseria meningitis (meningococous) is a cause of meningitis or septic shock in adolescents and young adults.
Even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 and 15 percent of people who develop meningococcal disease die, and another 10 to 20 percent suffer complications, such as brain damage or limb loss.
While the current two dose series of the vaccine Menactra (MCV4) prevents many cases of meningococcal infections, it does NOT protect against infections caused by the B serotype of Neisseria meningitis (Meningitis B). According to infectious disease experts, two thirds of the cases of meningococcal meningitis are prevented by the administration of the Menactra (MCV4) vaccine, but one third of Neisseria meningitis cases are caused by Meningitis B. In recent years Meningitis B outbreaks have occurred at various college campuses; Princeton (2013-2014), University of California-Santa Barbara (2013-2014) and more recently in Oregon (2015). Isolated cases have also occurred in students attending other colleges and universities throughout the United States. These outbreaks and individual cases underscore the urgent need for a safe and effective vaccine to prevent serogroup B meningococcal disease (Meningitis B).
To meet this need, researchers created a vaccine against Meningitis B named Trumenba, which can be given to individuals 10 to 25 years of age in a three dose series. Children, adolescents and young adults with medical conditions that put them at high risk for meningococcal disease, such as immunodeficiencies, or having an absent or non-functional spleen, should receive Trumenba. Parents of healthy adolescents, especially those age 16-18 years, who do not fall into a high-risk group may choose to vaccinate their child with Trumenba. The series of three doses is completed over a six-month period – after the first dose, the second is given two months later and the third and final dose is give six months after the first. Possible side effects of Trumenba include pain at the injection site, muscle pain, fatigue, and chills. The first dose of the vaccine can be given at your child’s physical exam, or we can make a separate appointment to begin the vaccine series.
As always, the health of your children is of utmost importance – please don’t hesitate to ask your physician or PA if you have any questions.