By Lora Hines, The Press-Enterprise
Teenagers should get vaccinated to protect against the bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
Publication in the Jan. 27 issue of “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”f ormalizes the recommendations made this fall by the federal agency’s advisory committee on immunization practices.
The committee’s guidelines call for “routine vaccination of adolescents, preferably at age 11 or 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16,” the report says of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
“CDC is hopeful that doctors will begin implementing these recommendations right away,” agency spokesman Tom Skinner said. Nationwide, approximately 2,600 people contract meningococcal disease each year. Of those, about 1 in 10 die, according to the CDC.
Those who survive may experience long-term disabilities, such as brain damage, kidney failure, loss of arms or legs, chronic nervous-system problems or hearing loss.
Meningococcal infections are contagious, typically affecting pre-teenage children, adolescents, college freshmen and travelers, the CDC reports.