Routine vaccination can help stop deadly meningitis | Inquirer Business

Routine vaccination can help stop deadly meningitis

Just recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 18.7 million infants worldwide—from a high 21.8 million in 2013—are still missing out on basic vaccines. These children, noted the agency, are more susceptible to various diseases that could result in long-term illness, serious disability and even death.

Dr. Lulu Bravo of the University of the Philippines Manila’s Pediatric Infectious and Tropical Diseases said: “Vaccines are meant to protect the children who are most vulnerable from getting severe diseases. Not getting these needed vaccines expose them to all the risks of a particular disease. Scientists have been trying to improve how people can fight not just the bad weather and the disasters but also the way we can treat and prevent severe diseases so we may live longer, without disabilities and complications associated with disease.”

Most susceptible


The children from these areas where there is low vaccination rates will grow up most susceptible to contracting diseases like meningitis, particularly its bacterial form that can strike quickly and kills within hours. Bacterial meningitis (as well as those caused by virus and fungi) causes the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord as well as widespread infection throughout the body. Even with the advantage of modern medicine and powerful antibiotics, it has a high fatality rate.


Those who are able to survive often live with serious complications, such as amputations, scarring and brain damage. Moreover, bacterial meningitis could also bring death in 10 to 15 percent of cases even when appropriate antibiotic therapy is used.

Fortunately, the most common forms of bacterial meningitis may be prevented by recommended vaccines to infants like the haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, which deals with the bacteria that was once the most common cause of bacterial meningitis; pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, which deals with the most common culprit in bacterial meningitis and also causes pneumonia, ear and sinus infections; and the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which is used to prevent infection caused by meningococcus.

Raise awareness

Bravo said: “This is why there should be greater vaccine information and campaigns to raise people’s awareness and knowledge on vaccines. We should also intensify our campaign to teach health professionals how to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated. Continue medical training even among graduate health and paramedical people and have our policymakers prioritize the giving of new vaccines and allot funds and logistics for the immunization programs.”

As the World Meningitis Day is observed tomorrow, various organizations around the world will initiate activities to highlight the theme, “24 Hours—Time to Act!,” which stresses that 24 hours can mean the difference between life and death for anyone affected by meningitis.

It should be remembered that the onset of symptoms of meningitis is typically sudden and strongly resembles the flu—headache, fever, nausea and fatigue. As the infection progresses over the course of just a few hours, symptoms like neck and intense headache, extreme fatigue, sensitivity to light, and often a fairly distinct rash of either tiny dots or big blotches ensue. If left untreated, a person with meningitis, especially the one caused by bacteria, may become delirious, sleepy and eventually slip into a coma.


Bravo stressed: “Meningitis affects the brain that controls all our actions, behavior and all bodily functions. Damage to the brain due to meningitis would likely cause severe harm and disabilities when treatment becomes inadequate or too late. However prevention through vaccination is available and has been shown to be safe and effective so there is no reason not to get the vaccine. The medical and economic cost of illness is definitely much higher than the prevention that we could do.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: Health, meningitis, Science, vaccination

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.