The local health department is recommending that children and young adults ages 16 to 23 get a MenB meningitis vaccine.
Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria that can be spread through close contact, such as coughing or kissing, or lengthy contact, such as living in the same household.
People in the 16-to-23 age range are considered to be at increased risk of contracting it — even if they are perfectly healthy. So are infants younger than 1 and people with medical conditions that affect their immune system, according to the Brown County Health Department.
Even when it is treated, meningococcal disease kills 10 to 15 infected people out of 100, the department reported. Of those who survive, about 10 to 20 out of every 100 will suffer consequences such as hearing loss, brain damage, amputations, nervous system problems or severe scars from skin grafts.
At this time MenB vaccine is not required for school or college entrance, the health department reported.
However, “if they are going to a college setting, consider this vaccine,” said supervisor Toni Warburton.
The MenB vaccine is not the same as the routine MCV4 Menatra or Menuvo vaccine, which was required for school entrance, the health department reported.
Children who are on Medicaid or Hoosier Healthwise or do not have insurance can receive vaccines free from the Brown County Health Department. Call 812-988-2255 for an appointment.
Children with insurance coverage must receive immunizations at their doctor’s office or other medical provider which contracts with their insurance carrier.
To learn more about the MenB meningitis vaccine, visit: immunize.org/vis/meningococcal_b.pdf