What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
        
 
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  

Resources

   

ASK THE EXPERTS: MAKING THE CASE FOR MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINE

     Home  >  Articles  > Family Health/Fitness/Safety
by Pramod Narula, M.D.

Related: meningococcal, meningitis, septicemia, disease, vaccine, kids, children, parents, facts, recommendations, new york methodist hospital, doctor, advice, pediatrics,


Dr. Pramod Narula, chairperson of the Department of Pediatrics at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, discusses what parents need to know about meningococcal disease and its vaccine.

 

Q: A health official visiting my child's middle school recommended that students receive the meningococcal vaccine. Is meningococcus dangerous?

child getting a shot; young boy receiving a vaccine; meningococcal vaccine

A: Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus). Meningococcus can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) or septicemia (an infection of the bloodstream). The bacterium is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions that occurs during intimate contact such as kissing, sharing food or beverages, or staying in the same room for more than four hours per day. 

   Meningococcal bacteria are very dangerous because they rapidly produce large quantities of endotoxin, a poison that damages small blood vessels and causes low blood pressure and shock. The disease is so unbelievably rapid that a child can die within four to six hours of contracting the infection. About one in every 20 children with meningococcal meningitis dies from the infection. The risk of infection is highest among infants less than 1 year of age, and much lower for children between the ages of 4 and 15.

   However, at around 15 years of age the incidence of meningococcal disease rises. Although adolescents are less likely than infants to be infected, they are more likely to die from the disease. Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include a stiff neck, headache, and high fever. If the infection is concentrated in the blood, symptoms include low blood pressure, rash, chills, and dark-purple spots around the arms and legs.

   In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that children 11-18 years of age receive a new meningococcal vaccine, Menactra. Unlike its predecessor Menomune, Menactra does not require a booster shot every three to five years. Both vaccines protect against four of the five types of meningococcal disease (A, C, Y, and W-135), including two of the three most common in the United States. However, neither Menomune nor Menactra protect against meningococcus type B, which is responsible for two-thirds of all meningococcal disease in infants.


Give yourself a free Holiday Gift

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More Family Health/Fitness/Safety Articles

“Roll Model” Campaign During National Bike Safety Month Helps Parents Put the Brakes on Child Bike Fatalities
Travel Tips: Food Safety On the Road
Lice Removal Services in New York City
Lice Survival Guide for Parents: How to Get Rid of Them for Good
Practice Window Safety to Prevent Falls

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Family Health/Fitness/Safety Sponsors


Gym Park (The)
81 Oak St.
Brooklyn, NY
718-349-6627
We are a gymnastics based program that aims to pro...

Acres of Adventure Summer Camp at Ann and Andy
2170 Saw Mill River Road
Elmsford, NY
914-592-3027
Acres of Adventure, family-owned and operated sinc...

Christ the King Continuing Education
68-02 Metropolitan Ave.
Middle Village, New York
718-366-7454
Christ the King Continuing Education is available ...

Celebrations In The Kitchen
63 E. Old Country Road
Hicksville, NY
516-396-2193
Our very hand-on baking parties and classes are de...

Marcia the Musical Moose
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
212-567-0682
Guitar, Magic & Puppet Show! Specializing in ages ...
See Our Family Health/Fitness/Safety Directory

local zones

Nassau

Nassau cont.

Suffolk

Suffolk cont.

Westchester

Westchester cont.

Fairfield

Rockland

Rockland cont.

Queens

Queens cont.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn cont.

Manhattan

Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE