When I conceived my child, I decided to choose the best for her. The mere thought of the dreadful infections that can be contracted by babies was enough to scare my soul. Therefore, I made sure to follow her vaccination schedule to a T. I have the habit of discussing all vaccines with my daughter’s doctor so that I can make an informed decision. During one such discussion, the pediatrician told me about Acute Bacterial Meningitis (ABM). I was shocked to know about the seriousness of this infection. I decided to share my learning with others so that there is more awareness about this lethal infection. The following information on this dreadful disease might interest you.
What Is Meningitis?
It is a rare but serious, life-threatening infection that affects the protective covering of our brain and spinal cord. It’s very contagious and can spread easily. It exists in many forms, though its bacterial form is more serious than its viral form.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Meningitis is a potentially devastating disease. 1 out of 10 people who contract this disease, succumb to it. And about 10-20% of the survivors get serious complications such as scars, deafness, and even brain damage. It is such a lethal disease that it can claim a life within 24-48hours of the onset of the initial symptoms.
It’s possible for a person to carry meningitis-causing microbes and yet not show any symptoms. Such a person is referred to as a carrier. However, such a person may transfer the microbes and spread the disease via their infected body fluids (through sneezing, coughing, etc).
Who Is At Risk?
Even though adolescents and older adults can be affected by meningococcal meningitis, it is a disease that primarily affects children younger than 5 years. In most cases, they unknowingly catch the infection from an adolescent.
Symptoms & Treatment
As with many infections, meningitis also presents itself in the form of symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, rashes, nausea, vomiting, etc. Treatment generally involves antibiotics combined with other medicines.
Is Meningitis Preventable?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. There are a few vaccines that are available in our country that can successfully prevent meningitis, –
- PCV (Pneumococcal vaccine)
- HiB vaccine (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B)
These vaccines are mandatory as per the directive issued by the Government of India and included in the National Immunization Program as well. But, they do not offer protection against meningococcal meningitis. The gap created by this missing link is addressed by Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV). It offers protection against the three forms of Acute Bacterial Meningitis (ABM). MCV is to be offered in 2 doses and it can be given to babies aged 9 months & above.
In India, MCV is still an optional vaccine because of the low incidence of meningococcal meningitis. Thus, it’s quite possible that you might not get this vaccine for your kid, leaving him/her vulnerable.
We must get this missing link to protect our babies from the three forms of Acute Bacterial Meningitis (ABM).
As a mother, I was shocked to know about this disease. I understand that the list for recommended vaccines is already quite long, but as long as we are committed to our kids’ health, we must consider this vaccine as well.
It is our responsibility to give the best to our children and every mother wants to do that. Thus, it is necessary to gain information about the potential health risks for our little babies, and take decisions to nullify those risks today. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Ask your pediatrician about Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine, and take the right step towards your kids’ safe and healthy future.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of a public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child’s health should be done after consultation with your doctor. Read my full disclosure here. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields mean the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. http://www.go4homoeopathy.com/ or the author should be in no way held responsible in that case.
Author: Varsha Mishra