Missing B – Get Informed about Meningitis B
I had no idea that being a parent was this much work! Sure, I knew there’d be lots of playing, letting her plaster her Mum’s makeup on me, and carrying her for miles on my shoulders (my poor back!), but nobody told me I’d have to keep myself so informed.
As a parent, it’s my job to do everything I can to keep my daughter healthy and to give her every opportunity to be entertained, respectful, funny, curious, and incredibly cheeky!
Part of keeping her healthy is to make sure her vaccines are up to date and following the advice of our Family Doctor, although I admit there’s a lot I didn’t give much thought. For example, it turns out that even if she was given a meningitis vaccine, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s vaccinated against the most common strain in Canada, Meningitis B (yep, there’s more than one disease-causing strain – who knew!).
Also, I’d just like to mention that if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns about this, I’m not a Doctor, so have a chat with your friendly Healthcare Professional and visit MissingB.ca. But here’s a few things I’ve learned:
- Meningococcal bacteria (the bacteria that cause meningitis, including meningitis B) can be spread easily through everyday behaviours like coughing or sneezing, sharing eating utensils, kissing and close physical contact.
- Meningitis, although rare, can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.
- Group B strains have caused the majority of meningococcal disease cases in Canada and are responsible for 80% of cases among infants and young children.
- Vaccination against meningitis B, unlike some other strains of meningitis, is not part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule in Canada. So, even if your child received a vaccine against meningococcal disease, they may be missing coverage for strain B.
- Early symptoms can be hard to notice because they begin mildly—similar to those of a cold or the flu. However, symptoms can progress quickly and may include:
- Sudden fever
- Other symptoms may include Cold chills, feeling tired, vomiting or diarrhea, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, a dark purple rash.
- It can be even harder to notice symptoms in babies and they may not appear at all. Instead, a baby may become slow or inactive, be irritable or vomit. Although rare, invasive meningococcal disease can become fatal within a matter of hours after the onset of symptoms.
Wait, there’s more!
Did You Know?:
- Five main groups of bacteria cause the majority of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) cases in Canada – A, B, C, W-135 and Y.
- Infants and children under five are most at risk of developing meningococcal disease, followed by adolescents.
- Up to 1 in 10 cases can be fatal, often within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Up to 1 in 5 of those who survive may experience lifelong complications, such as hearing loss, mental disabilities or require limb amputation.
- There is no single vaccine that protects against all vaccine-preventable strains of IMD.
Talk to your doctor about vaccination options available to help ensure that your child is immunized against all vaccine-preventable strains of meningococcal disease. For more information, visit: http://missingb.ca
Although this post has been sponsored by a research-based pharmaceutical company, the opinions and language are my own. If your child suffers from a side effect following immunization, please contact your healthcare provider or contact the Vaccine Safety Section at the Public Health Agency of Canada a 1-866-844-0018
- Health Canada. Regulatory Requirements. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/regulatory-requirements-advertising/policies-guidance-documents/policy-distinction-between-advertising-activities.html#HelpSeeking
- Government of Canada. Children Vaccination. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/vaccination-children.html
- Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. Meningococcal Vaccine. Available at: https://www.meningitis.ca/en/MeningococcalVaccine