Babycare Health

Why Meningitis Vaccination Should Top Parents' Priority for Child Immunisation

Dr Manoj Yadav
0 to 1 years

Created by Dr. Manoj Yadav
Updated on Jul 22, 2020

Why Meningitis Vaccination Should Top Parents Priority for Child Immunisation
Reviewed by Expert panel

One Saturday night, a child was admitted to our hospital with a high-grade fever that had started sometime on the same morning. All of the little more than 12 hours, the child had not accepted any food and hated being touched. The confusion on the parent's faces was evident, as they noticed the doctors looking too grim for 'just a fever.'

 

It was supposed to be the weekend for me. But what the child was struggling against could’ve claimed his life within another 12 hours, and so I decided to extend the shift. We shifted him to ICU and started the treatment immediately.

 

I clearly recall the parents’ faces the next day in the morning when I arrived early to check up on the child. I don't think they slept that night. I believe the next 4-5 days were the most stressful period of their lives. Lab tests suggested that the child had Meningococcal Meningitis. Fortunately, the baby boy started to show signs of recovery afterwards, and it felt almost like a lease of a second life.

 

That was my first experience of meningococcal meningitis. And It’s etched in my memory as clear as yesterday. It’s been some 12 years already, but it’s still fresh in my thoughts. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1.2 million cases of bacterial meningitis are estimated to occur worldwide each year.

 

The biggest challenge about this disease is that often by the time the parents suspect that this is not just a normal fever, it is already too late. The initial symptoms could be very similar to common flu. The symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. The symptoms progress rapidly in the span of just 24 hours to include a severe headache, irritability, neck rigidity and seizures.


 

Between 8% to 15% of patients die, often within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate treatment is started.

 

If untreated, meningococcal meningitis is fatal in 50% of cases and may result in brain damage, disability or hearing loss in 10% to 20% of survivors.

 

While early diagnosis and quick treatment increase chances of survival, I recommend prevention, as it is always a better option when available. Like many other diseases for Meningitis as well, precaution includes both immunity  along with hygiene.

 

Meningococcal infections can be  prevented  with timely vaccination. In India, Vaccine against meningococcal Meningitis is not mandatory. However, it is recommended for the high-risk population. Vaccination for meningococcal meningitis is available in India from 9 month onwards. You need to ask your Paediatrician about it. 

 

Vaccinations are the missing link in providing comprehensive protection (if your child is already immunised against causative agents like S. Pneumoniae and H. Influenzae type b) against 3 most commonly known types of acute bacterial meningitis mentioned above. Please talk to your doctor who can help you take the call.

 

As doctors in the real world, we may not be able to educate every new parent. But it is our endeavor to reach and make maximum young parents aware and I hope I have been able to help you with some useful information for your child’s health. 

 

Feel free to post any questions you have in the comments section below.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views solely of the Blogger. This is a part of a public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. You should consult your healthcare provider / doctor for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child's health should be done after consultation with your doctor. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields means that the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. The authors should be in no way held responsible in that case.

 

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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