Meningococcal Group B Vaccine Trumenba- Now Available at Integrative Pediatrics

Meningococcal DiseaseWith the recent tragic death of a student at the University of Oregon, (four students contracted the type B strain), it is timely that two vaccines have just been approved to cover type B meningococcal.  The previously available vaccines (Menactra and Menveo) cover the other main strains (types C, Y, and W) and we have been offering these to those 11 years and older and strongly encouraging all college bound students to get these vaccines.  We have known that they didn’t cover type B, which causes most cases in Oregon.

Of the two vaccines available for type B, we are selecting Trumenba.  It uses the same technology that has been used in preparing the Prevnar that we give routinely to infants without much difficulty, and it has way less aluminum than the other product for type B meningococcal disease.  This vaccine will be discussed tomorrow at the ACID / CDC meeting and will likely receive approval and recommendation for use in all those age 10-25. As with many brand new vaccines, there will be a period of time that we are not sure if insurance will cover it.  Cost runs around $150 per shot and you need 3 shots with the second one 2 months after the first and the third one 6 months after the first dose.

If you have a child over the age of 10, and especially if you have a child at the University of Oregon or who will be going there soon or is a student  there now and cannot get the vaccine at school, please call our office and make an appointment.

Know that meningococcal illness can be rapidly fatal but it is also very treatable when it is caught early. Catching it early is important.  Signs of infection often include high fever, chills, body aches (that all sounds like the flu), and then if you get a rash, especially petechiae or purpura (broken blood vessels that don’t blanch with pressure) then you need to be seen immediately. You don’t wait until morning or later in the day when that kind of rash develops. You can have symptoms of blood infection (sepsis) with rapid heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and poor blood flow to the arms and legs as the body  shunts blood to vital organs.  You can have symptoms of meningitis (brain inflammation) with headache and confusion leading to coma or seizures.

It is important to seek medical attention if you are in doubt.  A complete blood count (CBC) will often show a very low or very high white blood cell (WBC) count with a left shift (more neutrophils and bands). Once this is discovered, a shot of ceftriaxone can be life and limb saving.

 

Learn more about Meningococcal Disease here…

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

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