It seems like every year there are several outbreaks of meningococcal infections on college campuses across the country. This disease is caused by a bacterium called n. meningitides which can infect both the brain and the blood. Although meningococcal infections are rare even with treatment this infection can be deadly in 10-15% of patients. Those who survive can experience permanent disabilities like amputation, hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, and scarring from skin grafts. As a student at The Ohio State University you are required to be vaccinated for meningitis before you can live in university housing. This vaccine covers meningitis type A,C,Y, and W-135. It does not cover meningitis B which causes nearly half of meningitis cases in patients aged 17-22. There are currently two vaccines on the market for meningitis B, Trumenba and Bexsero. Both vaccines are approved in the United States for patients aged 10-25 for the prevention of meningococcal type B infection. Although the medication is approved for 10-25 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the CDC give these recommendations.
These vaccines are recommended for patients ten years and older who:
- Are at risk due to a type b outbreak
- Have a damaged or removed spleen
- Have an immune system condition known as “persistent complement component deficiency.”
- Are taking eculziumab (Soliris)
- Routinely work with N. meningitides.
There is an additional recommendation that the vaccine may be given to anyone aged 16-23 with a preferred age of vaccination being 16-18. This allows patients and their healthcare providers to determine if they want the vaccine.
Both vaccines require multiple doses. Bexsero is a two dose series with the doses being administered at least one month apart. Trumenba can be a two or three dose series depending on your risk level for meningococcal B infection.
PharmD candidate 2018