Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine - A Must-Have In Every Child's Immunization List

I always thought that I was a responsible mother, who was doing a really great job of parenting. But recently I read an article and came to know about a deadly disease i.e. meningococcal meningitis. At first, it didn’t bother me much because I had already gotten my son vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, so I thought that it would offer protection against meningitis as well. But then I came to know that MMR is not sufficient to deal with this life-threatening disease.

I know many of you don’t even know about this life-threatening disease. So, let’s get to know this disease a little better and spread awareness about it as well. Remember, as responsible mothers, it’s our duty to spread awareness about such fatal diseases across the globe.

What Is Meningococcal Meningitis?

It is a rare, but deadly disease. It can kill an individual within 24 hours of the onset of the symptoms. And even if it’s cured, it still has long-term devastating effects. Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. One in 10 people who contract this disease die from it, and up to 10-20% of its survivors suffer from serious complications such as sepsis that can lead to amputation, scars, deafness or brain damage.

Is Meningococcal Meningitis Contagious Or Not?

Yes, it can spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing utensils, living in close quarters like in hostels or dormitories, through active or passive smoking.

Anyone And Everyone Is At The Risk Of Being Infected

Generally, children below 5 years age, adolescents, and young adults, are more at risk though it can affect anyone, anywhere in the world. Even older adults too can become infected with this deadly disease.

Symptoms And Diagnosis

Sometimes, it can be difficult to judge the severity of the symptoms. My advice to all the moms is that if they see any of the symptoms given below, then they should consult their pediatrician immediately. Fever, headache and stiff neck are the main symptoms. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (being sensitive to light) and confusion.

Blood tests and the cerebrospinal fluid test are done immediately to confirm the diagnoses for meningitis.

Treatment For Meningitis

The occurrence of meningitis qualifies as a medical emergency, so the patient has to be admitted to a hospital or a medical center. So please do not panic, if your baby is diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis, you need to admit him to a hospital to start treatment as soon as possible. Appropriate antibiotics can save your child’s life. Sometimes the infected person needs other treatments like breathing support, medications for low blood pressure, and wound care for wounds.

This Is How You Can Safeguard Your Child From This Disease

  • As a preventive measure against meningitis, Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine is recommended for preteens (11 to 12 years of age). Also, a booster dose should be taken at 16 years of age.
  •  Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines are recommended for teens from 16 to 23 years of age.

Administering Meningococcal Vaccines

Visual Inspection: Checking the expiry date and discoloration if any.

Route and Site: For infants and young children, the preferred site is the vastus lateralis muscle in the anterolateral thigh. For older children and adults, it is injected in the deltoid muscle. As a new mom, you don’t have to worry about this vaccine. Just visit your pediatrician and ask him/ her about the same.

Empowering Life with Sanofi:

Sanofi Pasteur, the global biopharmaceutical company has worked passionately for the last 40 years and developed preventive strategies and therapies to fight against meningococcal meningitis. They support broader prevention strategies by expanding the availability of meningococcal meningitis vaccine across the globe.

Let’s take one step forward to make India a meningitis-free country, by spreading the word about this deadly disease and its preventive measures.

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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. The blog or the author should be in no way held responsible in that case. Written after consultation and discussion with Dr. Abhijit Misra (MD Pediatrician – Healthwealthbridge board of advisors)

Author: Sayeri Diary