SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

British health officials encourage all teens to receive meningitis vaccine

Health officials encourage all teens to receive the meningitis vaccine. | Courtesy of nhs.uk
The National Health Service is offering vaccinations against a rare, but deadly, strain of meningitis to all teens ages 14 to 18 in England and Wales.

Each year since 2009, the number of meningitis W (MenW) cases have increased, particularly among young adults and teens. 
In 2009 ,there were 22 cases. That number jumped to 117 cases by 2014. In the first month of 2015 alone, there were 34 confirmed cases in England. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recently advised physicians to vaccinate teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 against the MenW strain.

"We have seen an increase in MenW cases this winter, caused by a highly aggressive strain of the bug," Andrew Pollard, chair of JCVI, said. "We reviewed the outbreak in detail at JCVI and concluded that this increase was likely to continue in future years, unless action is taken. We have therefore advised the Department of Health to implement a vaccination programme for teenagers as soon as possible, which we believe will have a substantial impact on the disease and protect the public’s health."

The most common cause of meningitis is a meningococcal bacteria called Neisseria meningtidis, which comes in six types: A, B, C, W, X and Y. Type B causes 90 percent of the meningitis cases.

Meningitis' many symptoms affect different people in different ways. Some of the most common symptoms are severe headache, vomiting, fever, cold hands and feet, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright lights, drowsiness, tiredness, agitation, confusion, seizures, or convulsions.