22 January 2013
A new vaccine to protect against meningococcal B disease (MenB), one of the most common and deadly forms of meningitis, has been granted licence by the European Commission.
This means governments of European Union (EU) member states can now evaluate the vaccine for potential inclusion in their national immunisation programs and, where relevant, reimbursement schemes.
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) welcomes this decision, with MenB a significant contributor to meningitis cases worldwide.
MenB is a common cause of meningitis . It can easily be misdiagnosed, can kill within 24 hours or leave those surviving the disease with devastating long-term disabilities ,. Tragically the highest rates of MenB disease are in infants. The vaccines currently available do not offer protection against MenB which accounts for up to 90% of all meningococcal disease cases in some European countries.
“The decision to licence the MenB vaccine in Europe represents an important stepping stone towards the potential availability of a safe and effective vaccine that can be used to prevent the disease in other countries across the globe,” said CoMO President Bruce Langoulant.
“Together with our members across Europe we encourage all EU governments to add this approved vaccine to their immunisation programs, protect individuals and their families against this deadly form of meningitis.”
The MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is indicated to help protect all age groups against MenB, including infants who are the most vulnerable.
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2. World Health Organisation. Meningococcal meningitis. Fact sheet #141. December 2011 update.
3. Cohn, A. et al. Changes in Neisseria meningitidis disease epidemiology in the United States, 1998-2007: Implications for prevention of meningococcal disease. Clin Infect Dis 2010;50:184-91.