MONDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The Novartis vaccine Menveo has been approved to prevent bacterial meningitis and other health problems caused by meningococcal disease, the drug maker said in a news release.
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Meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Infection with meningococcal bacteria -- which also may trigger a deadly blood infection called sepsis -- affects more than 500,000 people each year, resulting in some 50,000 deaths worldwide, Novartis said. As many as 3,000 cases of meningococcal disease per year are diagnosed in the United States.
Even with early treatment, bacterial meningitis and related conditions may progress quickly and may kill within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, the company said. About one in five survivors has permanent side effects, which may include limb amputations, seizures, paralysis, hearing loss and learning disabilities.
Menveo (groups A, C, Y and W-135 conjugate vaccine) is based on the same technology as the company's Menjugate meningococcal vaccine, approved outside the United States since 2000, Novartis said.
-- Scott Roberts
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