In February 2005 the
Center for Disease Control (CDCís) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
recommended routine vaccination of adolescents 11-12 years of age with a
meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), Menactra.
This vaccine protects against several strains
of Neisseria meningitides,
which causes bacterial meningitis -- a sudden and serious disease that can have
a very rapid course. Death occurs in 10-14% of all cases; 11-19% will suffer
serious sequelae that can include deafness, neurologic deficit, or limb loss.
Routine vaccination with
Menactra is now recommended for:
Children age 11-12 years of age
Adolescents entering high school
College freshmen, especially
those living in dormitories
Menactra vaccination continues to be
recommended for other populations at increased risk for meningococcal disease,
including people who:
In 2005, the FDA and CDC
issued an alert about Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) occurring among recipients
of Menactra. GBS is a rare but serious neurologic disorder involving
inflammatory demyelination of peripheral nerves. At this point, CDC is unable to
determine whether Menactra increases the risk of GBS in persons who receive the
vaccine, for its background rate is not precisely known.
Because the risk for serious
meningococcal disease is significant, the CDC continues to recommend
Menactra vaccination for the populations above. Health care
providers should talk with adolescents and their caregivers about
this concern; providers should use the CDCís
Meningococcal Vaccine Information Statement.
Reporting Adverse Vaccine Effects
Report vaccine-related adverse
effects, including GBS or intussusception, by contacting:
VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System)
While this investigation is
ongoing, people with a history of GBS who are not in a high risk group for
meningococcal disease should not receive Menactra.