Meningococcal vaccine approved for children nine months of age

A vaccine for the prevention of invasive meningococcal disease for children from nine months of age has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The vaccine, Menactra, which helps protect against Neisseria meningtides serogroups A, C, Y and W-135, has been on the market for patients between the ages of two years old and 55 years of age since 2007, MedicalNewsToday.com reports.

Often referred to as cerebrospinal meningitis, meningococcal disease is a contagious bacterial disease caused by the meningococcus, or Neisseria meningtidis. It is spread by person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets of infected people. It mostly affects young children, according to the World Health Organization.

"The highest rate of meningococcal disease occurs in children under one year of age," Karen Midthun, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, according to MedicalNewsToday.com. “With today's approval, Menactra can now be used in children as young as nine months of age to help prevent this potentially life-threatening disease."

Mencatra is administered when a child is nine months old and then again three months later.

The FDA granted approval after examining one Phase II and three Phase II modified single-blind, controlled, multi-center trials involving more than 3,700 patients that included safety data for children as young as nine months, MedicalNewsToday.com reports.