Prevention of Meningitis


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Prevention list: Methods of prevention of Meningitis mentioned in various sources includes those listed below. This prevention information is gathered from various sources, and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Meningitis.

Prevention of Meningitis: Are there vaccines against meningitis?

Yes, there are vaccines against Hib and against some strains of N. meningitidis and many types of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccines against Hib are very safe and highly effective.

There is also a vaccine that protects against four strains of N. meningitidis, but it is not routinely used in the United States and is not effective in children under 18 months of age. The vaccine against N. meningitidis is sometimes used to control outbreaks of some types of meningococcal meningitis in the United States. Meningitis cases should be reported to state or local health departments to assure follow-up of close contacts and recognize outbreaks. Although large epidemics of meningococcal meningitis do not occur in the United States, some countries experience large, periodic epidemics. Overseas travelers should check to see if meningococcal vaccine is recommended for their destination. Travelers should receive the vaccine at least 1 week before departure, if possible. Information on areas for which meningococcal vaccine is recommended can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404)-332-4565.

A vaccine to prevent meningitis due to S. pneumoniae (also called pneumococcal meningitis) can also prevent other forms of infection due to S. pneumoniae. The pneumococcal vaccine is not effective in children under 2 years of age but is recommended for all persons over 65 years of age and younger persons with certain chronic medical problems.1

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has modified its guidelines for use of the polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis, particularly for college freshmen who live in dormitories, a group found to be at a modestly increased risk of meningococcal disease relative to other persons their age.1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Meningococcal Disease (General): DBMD

Last revision: June 2, 2003

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