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Last updated: August 20, 2018.
By Amy Norton
Monday, August 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) ̵
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord. It is rare in the United States, but sporadic outbreaks occur – often on university campuses where the spread of infection through close quarters is relieved.
Every year around 4,000 Americans contract bacterial meningitis and about 500 die from it, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new study interviewed doctors about the Meningitis B vaccine. It protects against the "B" subtype of meningococcal bacteria and became available in 2015 in the United States.
However, as the poll showed in late 2016, a majority of physicians did not routinely discuss the vaccine with adolescent patients and their parents
What's going on? Researchers explained that the issue is focused on how the vaccine recommendations of the CDC are formulated.
The Meningitis B vaccine has a "Category B" recommendation, meaning that it is optional: The CDC says that 16 to 23 year olds "may" "Unlike the other bacterial meningitis vaccine – the conjugate vaccine that protects against four other subtypes of meningococcal bacteria. " Since 2005, the CDC recommends a routine shot for all children and adolescents.
"Our data suggest that there are differences in how a Category B recommendation is interpreted by providers," said senior researcher Dr. Allison Kempe. Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine
Some doctors, she said, may find it unnecessary to market the meningitis B vaccine because they pose a low level of risk to the patient Other cases, said Kempe, doctors may not have enough information to discuss the pros and cons of the vaccine. The CDC said the Category B recommendation was partly made because it was still unclear how effective the vaccine would be in the real world.
Indeed, meningitis B is rare in the United States. According to the CDC, only 130 cases were reported in 2016
Like Kempe, he said doctors would probably interpret the Meningitis B vaccine recommendation in different ways.
In addition, Rathore says, there are plenty of things to do during routine doctor visits – especially before college appointments. Therefore, physicians can prioritize other health issues.
The results were based on 660 paediatricians and family physicians across the country. Kempes team asked her how often they discussed the meningitis B vaccine with 16- to 18-year-old patients and their parents. This age range is considered the optimal vaccine window to protect children who go to university.
Overall, only half of paediatricians and 31 percent of GPs said they frequently ate the vaccine on routine check-ups, the findings
These discussions were more likely when doctors said they were experiencing meningitis outbreaks in their condition aware – but that was no guarantee.
Although the Meningitis B vaccine is optional, physicians should, according to the AAP, be discussing it with parents and patients – so that they can make an informed decision. But not all doctors agree with this AAP council, Kempe noted.
If your doctor does not provide the vaccination option, she said you can.
"Parents should certainly feel empowered to ask about the vaccine," Kempe said.
Rathore agreed. "This vaccine is safe," he said. "If you as a parent are worried about this disease, you can certainly talk to your doctor about whether your child could benefit from a vaccine."
The findings were published online on Aug. 20 in Pediatrics
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fight More Against Meningococcal Vaccines
SOURCES: Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, Professor, Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colorado, Pediatric Medicine Hospital Colorado, Aurora; Mobeen Rathore, M.D., Professor, Paediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville and Speaker, American Academy of Pediatrics; Aug. 20, 2018, Paediatrics online