By Dr Jane Healy
There are two new vaccines that many parents and adults may have recently heard about.
They are Bexsero and Menactra.
Both these vaccines protect against the infection caused by the different subgroups of the bacteria Neisseria Meningitidis. There are five common subgroups of the bacteria: A, B, C, W and Y. The bacteria have the potential to cause two very significant and serious infections which can present either as meningitis (an infection of the brain) or septicaemia (an infection of the blood stream).
Due to the vaccination programmes that have been introduced, different subgroups have become more prevalent in the community. Those most at risk of infection include those without a spleen and deficiencies in their immune system. Other risk factors include smokers, those living in crowded conditions, children under 2 and adolescents aged between 15-19.
In Australia there are a number of vaccines available against the various subgroups of the bacteria meningitis. The meningococcal C vaccine is included in the childhood vaccination programme and is a two-vaccine programme that offers lifelong immunity. A recent increase in the number of cases of meningitis from subgroups W has lead to the Victorian […]