Jun 29, 2010 1:45 PM by Greg Boyce

Meningitis shots recommended for young people

The Colorado Department of Public Health is recommending vaccinations for meningitis after an outbreak of this deadly disease in Fort Collins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices routinely recommends meningococcal vaccine for all people at their 11- or 12-year-old checkup. The committee recommends routine vaccination against meningitis for

  • all previously unvaccinated adolescents ages 11 through 18 years
  • all previously unvaccinated college freshmen who will be living in dormitories
  • all individuals ages 2 years and older with anatomic or functional asplenia
  • all individuals ages 2 years and older anticipating travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • any individual working as a microbiologist with routine exposure to isolates of N. meningitides
  • military recruits
  • any other individual wishing to decrease his or her risk for meningitis

"Vaccination is the best strategy to prevent meningitis. Good personal hygiene practices, such as covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands, also is important," said Joni Reynolds, director of the Colorado Immunization Program at the state health department.

Reynolds said, "The vaccines are safe and effective and are available in many venues including private doctors' offices, many chain pharmacies and community clinics. Most insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine, and low- or no-cost vaccine is available through the Vaccines for Children program for children under 19 years of age through local public health agencies. The vaccine provides protection for more than five years. For those without insurance coverage, the vaccine cost can be significant, usually around $150."

Since June 18, no new cases of meningitis have been reported, However, people with symptoms should seek medical care immediately. Symptoms may include a high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, chills, nausea, vomiting, confusion or disorientation, sleepiness and a bruise-like rash.

For more information, call 1-877-462-2911 or visit the CDC website.




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