From Our 2007 Archives

Meningitis Vaccine Gets Expanded Approval

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The approved age range for the bacterial meningitis vaccine Menactra has been expanded to include children ages 2 to 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The vaccine had been approved for people ages 11 to 55.

Previously, a product called Menomune was the only meningitis vaccine approved in the United States for use in children ages 2 and older. Both Menactra and Menomune are made by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and offer protection against four groups of the bacterium that can cause meningitis.

In the United States, about 2,600 people become ill from bacterial meningitis each year. Some 10 percent of those patients die and about 15 percent incur brain damage or limb amputation.

Meningitis vaccine is recommended for children ages 2 to 10 who are at increased risk for developing meningitis including: those who have had their spleen removed or whose spleen is not functioning; those who are traveling to areas outside the United States where the disease is common; and those with a condition called terminal complement component deficiency, which makes it difficult to fight infection. Vaccination is also used to control outbreaks of bacterial meningitis.

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