The World Health Organization has recently declared that they will beat meningitis by 2030 by assisting countries in mitigating its spread and minimizing the effects of the disease itself. They hope to expand access to vaccines, improve detection methods, and advocate for rehabilitation of those impacted by the disease.
When meningitis is not treated, there is a mortality rate of around 50%. For those it doesn’t kill, there can be life-altering complications. However, there are effective vaccines for this condition. In fact, there are several which protect against meningitis, such as the meningitis conjugate vaccine (MenACWY).
The current CDC recommendation is that all people between the ages of 11 and 18 receive the MenACWY vaccine. Additionally, the Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine is recommended for those between the ages of 16 and 23.
Meningitis can be the result of a bacterial infection, a viral infection, or a fungal infection.
Meningitis causes symptoms similar to the flu. These include a headache, a very high fever, and characteristically, a stiff neck. It can lead to swelling in the spinal cord and brain, which is incredibly dangerous.
The most severe kind of meningitis is the type resulting from bacteria.
Not only is this type of meningitis the most severe, but the symptoms can accelerate rapidly. In just a few hours, the condition can be life threatening. Therefore, if you experience symptoms like those listed above you should go straight to the ER.
There are 4 types of bacteria which can cause bacterial meningitis: neisseria meningitides, streptococcus pneumoniae, meningococcus, and pneumonococcus.
These bacteria spread through respiratory particles. This means that it can spread easily when people are in close contact. This also means that even though anyone can get meningitis, it spreads more frequently in young people who live in close quarters such as a college or those who participate in summer camps or sports teams.
For that reason, the vaccine is especially recommended for young people. It’s so important to talk to your doctor about your vaccination options and what’s right for you. Being proactive could save your life.
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