1. N. meningitidis is a bacterium responsible for meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia, with potentially lethal and long term sequelae.
2. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has adjusted its vaccination guidelines to include two newly licensed conjugate vaccines, Hib-MenCY-TT and MenACWY-CRM, in an effort to address immunization of younger children with increased risk of disease.
Statement Rundown: Neisseria meningitidis is an encapsulated bacterium responsible for infections such as meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia. Five serogroups of N. meningitidis cause the vast majority of disease, with serogroup B causing disease predominantly in children under age 5 and serogroups C and Y causing disease in adolescents. There are 4 licensed meningococcal vaccines available in the United States: one polysaccharide vaccine, MPSV4, and 3 conjugated vaccines, Men-ACWY-D and the 2 newly licensed Men-ACWY-CRM and Hib-MenCY-TT products. The newly licensed vaccines, as well as the updated recommendations for their use, address immunization of younger children at increased risk for disease. For high risk children, such as those with asplenia or complement component deficiency, the AAP recommends the use of either of the 2 new vaccines as a 4-dose primary series for children ages 2 to 18 months, or a 2-dose primary series of Men-ACWY-CRM or D for individuals ages 2 to 55 years. Booster doses are recommended thereafter. Both healthy and high-risk children ages 11 to 21 years can receive Men-ACWY-CRM or Men-ACWY-D as a primary series, while HibMenCY-TT is not approved for this age group. Some data suggest that vaccine products can be used interchangeably and therefore boosters need not be of the same type as those received in the primary series. Pregnancy and breastfeeding do not preclude vaccination, however all meningococcal vaccines are contraindicated in those with known severe allergic reactions.
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