Meningitis Angels praise FDA's expanded approval of Menveo

Meningitis Angels, a national meningitis-focused non-profit organization, announced on Monday that it was celebrating the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision to expand approval of the Menveo meningitis vaccine.

Menveo, a vaccine used to prevent meningococcal disease caused by four Neisseria meningitidis strains, is now approved for use in infants and toddlers two months of age and older. Infants and adolescents are the most susceptible to contracting meningococcal disease, an aggressive and fast-acting illness.

"We are fooling ourselves if we believe that meningococcal meningitis is just a teen or college disease," Frankie Milley, founder and national director of Meningitis Angels, said. "Even though there is still no approved vaccine in the U.S. to help protect against meningococcal serogroup B infections, the fifth remaining serogroup, this is a huge step in the fight against meningococcal disease in infants."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the case fatality rate of meningococcal disease is 10 percent to 15 percent. Approximately 20 percent of survivors suffer significant life-long consequences, including organ damage, brain damage, deafness, blindness or limb loss.

"No infant should suffer what some have previously experienced," Milley said. "No parent should have to watch their once perfect child lay in a hospital for months, body rotting away and have to sign papers for doctors to amputate body parts bit by bit. No parent should have to stand helplessly and watch their child literally bleed to death, as I did, from a disease that is preventable with a vaccine. When it comes to prevention of deadly disease through vaccination, we all must do the right thing and vaccinate."

Milley and Meningitis Angels will attend hearings of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later this year to plead the case that Menveo should be recommended for infants below the age of two months as well.