Raising Awareness for Meningococcal B: Urging Parents to Learn More {Interview}

There are a lot of things for parents of teens and young adults to think about—is vaccination against meningococcal disease one of them?

Adolescents and young adults are the primary carriers of meningococcal bacteria, even if it doesn’t make them sick. And some of their most typical behaviors—such as close-quartered living, sharing drinks and utensils, and kissing—can promote the transmission of meningococcal group B disease, also known as MenB, which is a type of meningococcal disease that includes bacterial meningitis. Still, some parents may not know the facts:

  • Meningococcal disease can progress rapidly, and early symptoms are difficult to distinguish from other more common infections—with flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting2

  • There are five common types of bacteria that cause invasive meningococcal disease—groups A, B, C, W, and Y.

  • Even if a child previously received a vaccine for meningococcal disease (such as the MCV4 vaccine against groups A, C, W, and Y), he or she may not be protected against MenB.

  • MenB is not restricted only to college students; the estimated MenB incidence in college students is similar to, or lower than, the incidence in all 18-23 year olds.

  • Despite the availability of antibiotic treatment, approximately 10% of patients with MenB die, and those who survive may be afflicted with long-term disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss or limb amputations.

  • Although uncommon, MenB accounts for nearly 50% of all U.S. meningococcal cases in 17-22 year olds.

Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Richard Chung, Director, Adolescent Medicine, Duke University who took time out of his busy schedule to talk about MenB.  Including:

  • What is MenB and are there different types of bacteria that cause it?
  • What are the symptoms of MenB?
  • How is MenB spread?
  • What are some statistics of MenB in the US?
  • What should parents ask their health care providers about their teens or young adult children about MenB?

Check out the complete interview here to learn more:

More About Dr. Chung

Dr. Richard Chung, Director, Adolescent Medicine, Duke University has partnered with Pfizer to educate parents about meningococcal disease and encourage them to learn more and speak with their health care provider about vaccinating their teen and young adult children against the disease.

Visit MeetMeningitis.com or the Meet Meningitis Facebook page for more information about meningococcal disease, including MenB.

[i] MacNeil J, Cohn A. Chapter 8: meningococcal disease. In: Roush SW, McIntyre L, Baldy LM. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 5th ed, Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012. https://www.cdc.gov/vacc ines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-m ening.html. Accessed May 4, 2017.

[ii] Meningococcal Vaccines for Preteens, Teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website. http://www.cdc.gov/fe atures/meningococcal/. Updated April 24, 2017. Accessed May 4, 2017.

[iii] Tully J, Viner RM, Coen FG, et al. Risk and protective factors for meningococcal disease in adolescents: matched cohort study. BMJ. 2006;232(7539):445 -450.

[iv] Serogroup B Meningococcal (MenB) VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website. https://www.cdc.gov/v accines/hcp/vis/vis-statements /mening-serogroup.html. Updated August 9, 2016. Accessed May 4, 2017.

[v] Folaranmi T, Rubin L, Martin SW, Patel M, MacNeil JR. Use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccines in persons aged ≥10 years at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(22):608-612.

[vi] MacNeil J, Rubin L, Folaranmi T, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Patel M, Martin SW. Use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccines in adolescents and young adults: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(41):1171-1176.

[vii] Cohn A, MacNeil JR, Harrison LH, et al. Changes in neisseria meningitidis disease epidemiology in the United States, 1998- 2007: implications for prevention of meningococcal disease.Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50:184-191.

[viii] Soeters HM, McNamara LA, Whaley M, et al. Serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak and carriage evaluation at a college – Rhode Island, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(22):606-607.


Interview courtesy of Pfizer

Cynthia Tait

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