Friday, May 27, 2005

Update on Meningococcal Vaccines

I have recently posted a blog on the recent Meningococcal scare in North India, yesterday American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with new recommendations for Meningococcal vaccination, and I am reproducing thier policy statement here


For Release: May 25, 2005 - Immediately

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new policy statement recommending routine meningococcal vaccination for certain age groups. The guidelines call for the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) for:

  • Young adolescents (11-12 years of age)
  • Adolescents at high school entry or 15 years of age (whichever comes first) for those who have not previously been vaccinated
  • All college freshmen living in dormitories
  • Other groups at high risk such as those with underlying medical conditions or travelers to areas with high rates of meningococcal disease

The recommendations will help prevent meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection. Although rare, meningococcal disease is dangerous because the disease progresses rapidly, and within hours of the onset of symptoms it may cause permanent disability or death.

Meningococcal disease is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in U.S. toddlers, adolescents and young adults. Symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion, and a rash may appear. Lifestyle factors thought to contribute to the disease include direct contact with an infected person, e.g., exchanging saliva, often through kissing; crowded living conditions, e.g., dormitories; and active or passive smoking. Vaccination is the best method of preventing meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal infections can be treated with drugs such as penicillin. "Still," says AAP President Carol Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, "about one in every ten people who get the disease dies from it, and many others are affected for life. That is why preventing the disease through use of meningococcal vaccine is important for the high-risk groups."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) determined that establishing the target age at 11 years may give lasting immunity through college. Studies have determined that the disease peaks in 16- to 18-year-olds, supporting vaccination of 15-year-olds.

More information on the vaccine can be found at the AAP Web site at or from the CDC at


Dr. Puneet Kumar said...

Guidelines for vacination for any disease depend on the epidemiology (prevelance/incidence, age-group most affected, etc.)of that disease in that area. That is why, guidelines differ from country to country. It is very important for everyone to understand, to avoid unnecessary confusion. (This is an area where we can never succeed by aping the west !!)

Dr. Puneet Kumar
C-73, Nivedita Kunj,
Sector-10, RK Puram,
New Delhi.

9818 356 846

Dr. Gaurav said...

I would have to agree, unfortunately data from developing countries like ours is lacking, hence we are left with little choice but to either 'modify' these guidelines according to personal whims, OR follow these guidelines as they are written. There is no right way.. till we get more data from our country.