Since the recent introduction of the new Meningitis B vaccine into the UK, Nomad have seen a dramatic increase in the number of parents booking into our clinics (Bath / Bristol / Cardiff) relieved that they are now able to have their child vaccinated against this potentially fatal infection. Parents often present with many anxieties/fears and questions related to both the disease and the vaccine itself. The risks of Meningitis B have sadly been highlighted in the again in the news recently with several deaths caused by the disease in 2016 alone, and the 2014 story of baby Harmoine-Rose in the Bath area whose limbs were amputated after been infected with this terrible infection. Below I have addressed some of the most common questions we face on a day to day basis.
Meningitis B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK, it causes approximately 90% of all cases of Meningitis. It is responsible for more deaths in children under age 5 years than any other infectious disease. Transmitted by coughing/sneezing, if caught the layer that covers the brain and spinal cord becomes infected and swells up and if left untreated 50% of all people infected can die. All ages are at some risk, but the very young and teenagers are at highest risk. Generally vaccines are given to babies and children/adolescents.
Symptoms to begin with are similar to many illnesses so can be difficult to diagnose. They include fever, headache, vomiting, reduced appetite and feeling generally unwell. These can progress very quickly and become life threatening if left. If as a parent you are worried about your child, trust your instincts and see your GP.
Symptoms to begin with are similar to many illnesses so can be difficult to diagnose. They include fever, headache, vomiting, reduced appetite and feeling generally unwell. These can progress very quickly and become life threatening if left
The new licensed vaccine is called Bexsero and manufactured by Novartis. To provide protection you/your child will need either 2 or 3 injections (depending on age) and then a booster after a year.
In March 2014, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), recommended that the vaccine be offered to babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age as part of their routine immunisations. Due to financial restraints the start date for this has not yet been confirmed. If you/your child does not fit this age group, or you do not want to wait for this to be offered to you, you can still have the vaccine, but you will have to pay for it.
For more information about the vaccine itself: www.bexsero.co.uk