Focus on meningitis: who is most at risk?

Category: News - Author: Staff Ambimed

Focus on meningitis: who is most at risk?

Dr Massimo Galli, Past President of SIMIT (Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases) and Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Milan, reminds Ansa that it is children and adolescents, together with some people considered vulnerable, who are at greatest risk of contracting bacterial meningitis.

Dr. Galli explains that each of us comes into contact with the meningitis bacterium at least once in the course of our lives. However, a relatively small percentage of people (around 200 people per year) develop the disease compared to the thousands and thousands of healthy carriers.

Meningococcal (B,C,W,Y,A) vaccination is an appropriate and effective preventive strategy for the whole population, but with a special focus on the most vulnerable.

For this reason, the Vaccination Calendar strongly recommends that children be vaccinated for meningococcal B and meningococcal C (the prevalent strains in Italy and Europe) during their first years of life.

In fact, children and adolescents have an immune system that is not yet fully mature and transmission is also promoted by a very intense social life, such as many hours spent in the classroom.

Adults with diseases that compromise the immune system (such as genetic diseases, oncohaematology, diabetes, etc.) or who use immunosuppressive therapies are also eligible for vaccination, along with those who work in close contact with environments where transmission of the bacterium is facilitated, such as teachers and healthcare staff.

For obvious reasons, those who have been in close contact, especially prolonged contact, with someone who has developed meningococcal disease are considered to be particularly at risk.

For more information on meningitis, see our in-depth report.






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