What you need to know about Meningitis B
For many years, the B strain of Meningitis has been the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK and Ireland.
Vaccines are the only way to prevent meningitis and have almost eliminated some other kinds of meningitis.
The new vaccine against Meningitis B (Bexsero) has become available in the UK, and Armada Travel Clinic is very pleased to be able to offer it to our patients.
Unfortunately it is not yet available on the NHS as part of the standard childhood schedule, though in the very near future, the vaccine will be made available free of charge on the NHS to those with medical conditions that increase their risk of the disease.
Certain medical conditions greatly increase a person’s risk of getting meningococcal disease; however the vast majority of people who get Meningitis B infection have no risk factor.
Many people who do have risk factors do not find out that they are at risk until after they get meningococcal disease. The incidence of Meningitis B is considerably higher for children under the age of 5.
What is Meningitis B?
Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by a viral, fungal or bacterial infection.
Viral meningitis can be very unpleasant but it is almost never life threatening and generally most people make a full recovery, However, most cases of meningitis in the UK are caused by meningococcal bacteria.
A person infected with the meningococcal bacteria may develop symptoms of meningitis, septicaemia or even both. Septicaemia is the blood poisoning form of the disease. Together these two forms of the disease are known as meningococcal disease. Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia can kill and remains the leading infectious cause of death in the UK for children under five.
Bexsero is the first vaccine licensed by the European Commission to cover many different strains of Meningococcal B infection found around the world.
How effective is this vaccine?
It is impossible to be certain about the precise effectiveness of any vaccine as the efficacy of a vaccine is determined by many factors; however studies have predicted that it will cover approximately 88% of Meningitis B strains found in the UK and 78% of Meningitis B strains found in Europe.
Is the vaccine safe?
The side effects seen when Bexsero is administered are essentially the same as those commonly experienced with other vaccines. This may include; soreness, redness, swelling and/or hardness of skin at the injection site, a fever, a lack of appetite, muscle aches, irritability, sleepiness and rashes.
Bexsero is not a live vaccine and can be given with the other vaccines in the routine childhood schedule and also at the same time as Varicella vaccines.
Schedule of Meningitis B Vaccination based on age of child
|Age||1st dose||2nd dose||3rd dose||4th dose|
|2-5 months||Immediately||1 month later||1 month later||Aged 12-23 months|
|6 –11 months||Immediately||2 month later||2 months when
aged 12-23 months
|12-23 months||Immediately||2 month later||1-2 years later|
|2-10 years||Immediately||2 month later|
|11 years +||Immediately||1 month later|
For more information relating to meningitis please visit: www.meningitis.org