The meningoccocal vaccine (MCV4), which protects against N. meningitidis, covers against a form of bacterial meningitis that is often passed from person-to-person when many people are living in close quarters, such as a college dormitory or military barracks. The CDC recommends the first dose of this vaccine be given at 11 to 12 years old, and then a booster at 16 years old; it's also recommended for certain high-risk children aged 2 through 10. If you're over 16 when you first receive this vaccine, the CDC says only one dose is needed.
The pneumococcal vaccine (called PCV-13 for children and PPSV in adults) is part of routine childhood immunizations. People who are at higher risk of developing bacterial meningitis may receive a booster dose. In addition, people who are over 65, or younger people who have chronic health conditions or a compromised immune system, should also receive this vaccination, as should anyone who smokes or has asthma, despite their age, according to the CDC.
"Public health surveillance like this is exceedingly important in evaluating our public health strategies. It's good to see that the rates of bacterial meningitis are going down, but the death rate has not gone down for those who do have it," noted Bromberg.
"The good news is that we're doing something to prevent bacterial meningitis, and we've made a lot of strides in the past decade. But, physicians and patients need to know that bacterial meningitis still occurs and it is still a deadly serious infection," Whitney said.
Besides getting immunized, Whitney noted that staying healthy and not smoking can help keep your immune system primed to fight off these infections. She said it's also important to note that Listeria is a significant cause of meningitis, and that pregnant women need to be especially careful about the foods that they eat
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