You could be forgiven for thinking your child was immunised against meningococcal B as part of the Ministry of Health’s Immunisation Schedule. But unfortunately, a vaccination isn’t actually included as part of the schedule (and one hasn’t been available for the past seven years) – meaning they could be at risk.1
Meningococcal B can Change Life in a Moment
Although relatively uncommon, meningococcal B is a serious infection. It strikes and progresses quickly, usually without warning or with symptoms that are often mistaken for the common cold. A person with the disease can develop meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain), septicaemia (blood infection) or pneumonia.1,2
Who’s Most at Risk?
While anyone can get meningococcal B, babies and children under 5 years of age are most at risk.4 Teens living in shared spaces, like university students flatting together or in halls of residence, are also a high-risk group.5
How is it Spread?
The bacteria that causes meningococcal B live within the nose and throat and can be spread through everyday behaviours including:5
- coughing and sneezing
- sharing drinks and eating utensils
- living in close quarters
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of meningococcal disease may appear mild – similar to those of a cold or the flu. However, they usually progress quickly and may include the following:6
Additional symptoms in babies may include: Cold hands and feet or shivering, being floppy or harder to wake, unusual crying, refusal to eat. Additional symptoms in older children and adults may include:
Headache, confusion, joint pain and aching muscles.
Don’t wait for spots to appear before getting medical help. Seek medical attention immediately if you see one or more of the symptoms above.
Protect Your Child or Teen with Bexsero
Remember vaccination is the most effective way to help prevent meningococcal B.7 Thankfully you can help protect your children with a new vaccine called Bexsero.8
For more information about Bexsero ask your GP or nurse today. You can also visit meningitisb.co.nz where you’ll find all the information you need. Bexsero is not currently included on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule so you will need to pay for this vaccine.
References: 1. Immunisation Advisory Centre. Bexsero: A vaccine to protect against Meningococcal group B disease Fact Sheet. Available at: https://www.immune.org.nz/sites/default/files/resources/Written%20Resources/NonprogrammeVaccineBexseroImac20181109V01Final.pdf. Accessed 2 July 2019 2.Thompson MJ, et al. Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet 2006; 367(9508): 397–403. 3. Rosenstein NE, et al. Meningococcal disease. N Engl J Med 2001; 344(18): 1378–88. 4. ESR, Invasive Meningococcal Disease Report, 3 April 2019, Available at https://surv.esr.cri.nz/PDF_surveillance/MeningococcalDisease/2019/MeningococcalDisease_Q1_2019.pdf, Accessed 2nd July 2019 5. Ministry of Health website. Meningococcal disease (including meningitis.) Summary Tab. Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/meningococcal-disease-including-meningitis Accessed 2 July 2019. 6. Ministry of Health. Meningococcal Disease – Don’t Wait Take Action. Available at: https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/meningococcal-disease-dont-wait-take-action Accessed 2 July 2019. 7. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website. Meningococcal disease. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html. Accessed 2 July 2019. 8. GlaxoSmithKline NZ. Bexsero Data Sheet 2019. Available at: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/b/Bexseroinj.pdf Accessed: 2 July 2019.
Bexsero® (Multicomponent Meningococcal group B Vaccine) is for immunisation against invasive disease caused by N. meningitidis group B from 2 months of age or as per official recommendations. Bexsero is available as an unfunded prescription medicine – you will have to pay normal doctor’s visit fees and a prescription charge. A trained pharmacist can also administer Bexsero to a person aged 16 years and older. A 0.5 mL dose contains contains 50mcg of Neisseria meningitidis Group B Neisseria Heparin Binding Antigen fusion protein, 50mcg of Neisseria meningitidis Group B Neisseria Adhesin A protein, 50mcg of Neisseria meningitidis Group B Factor H Binding Protein fusion protein, 25 mcg of Outer membrane vesicles (OMV) from Neisseria meningitidis group B strain NZ98/254 measured as amount of total protein containing the PorA P1.4. Bexsero has risks and benefits. Use strictly as directed. Bexsero should not be administered if you or your child are hypersensitive to any component of this vaccine. Common side effects Infants & Toddlers: eating disorders, sleepiness, unusual crying, diarrhoea, vomiting, rash, fever (≥39.5°C), injection site reactions, irritability, arthralgia. Adolescents & Adults: headache, nausea, injection site reactions, malaise, myalagia, arthralgia. If you or your child have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional. Additional Consumer Medicine Information for Bexsero is available at www.medsafe.govt.nz. Ask your doctor if Bexsero is right for you or your child. Bexsero is a registered trade mark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited, Auckland. Adverse events involving GlaxoSmithKline products should be reported to GSK Medical Information on 0800 808 500. TAPS NA11173-PM-NZ-BEX-WCNT-19JUL0001.