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Bacterial Meningitis Vaccine Approved for Children As Young As Two Years of Age

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccination of children for bacterial meningitis.

The FDA expanded the age range for the vaccine Menactra, made by Sanofi-Aventis, to as young as two years old. Previously, the age range was 11 to 55. 

About 2,600 people fall ill annually from bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord, with 10 percent dying from it, the FDA said. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for travellers to countries where the infection is a problem, those with damaged spleens, college students living in dorms and military recruits, among others. The infection can cause seizures, brain damage, memory loss and death in otherwise healthy people in less than 48 hours, with a 15% fatality rate if treated with antibiotics.

Marked by fever, headache, and stiff neck, the relatively rare disease is more serious than viral meningitis.

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