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NFID Initiative Aims to 'S.T.O.P. Meningitis!'
Program Has Updated Free Resources for Docs, Parents
By News Staff
The initiative's updated tools for health care professionals and patient education materials include
- a meningococcal disease fact sheet,
- tip sheets about vaccine delivery and reimbursement,
- letters to parents,
- phone scripts,
- standing orders,
- a patient education video, and
- a video question and answer with vaccine experts.
Although that number might seem relatively low in a country of more than 300 million people, Baker said the death rate is 11 percent in the general population and 14 percent in adolescents and young adults. As many as 19 percent of survivors face permanent damage, including hearing loss, brain damage and limb amputations, she said.
The majority of U.S. cases are caused by serogroups B, C and Y, according to the NFID website, but neither licensed vaccine protects against type B.
Even so, said Baker, "Vaccination offers the best protection."
Before effective vaccines were widely available, bacterial meningitis was most commonly diagnosed in children, according to the CDC, but the disease is now more commonly diagnosed among adolescents and young adults.
The AAFP and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, expanded recommendations for meningococcal vaccination in 2007, calling for immunization of all individuals ages 11-18 years with one dose of MCV4 at the earliest opportunity.
Vaccination coverage for MCV4, which is marketed by Sanofi Pasteur as Menactra, increased from 32.4 percent in 2007 to 41.8 percent in 2008 in 13- to 17-year-olds, according to the CDC.
Groups at increased risk for meningococcal infection, say CDC officials, include infants and young children, refugees, household contacts of case patients, military recruits, college freshmen who live in dormitories, microbiologists who work with isolates of N. meningitidis, patients without spleens or with terminal complement component deficiencies, and people exposed to active or passive tobacco smoke.
Meningococcal vaccination is not a requirement for travel to any country except Saudi Arabia, but the CDC said vaccination is recommended for individuals traveling to the "meningitis belt" in Africa from December through June.