Does your teenager need a meningitis booster?

In short yes! In 2015, Illinois began requiring all seniors to have a second meningitis vaccine if they had not received a meningitis vaccine within the past five years. Your teenager should have received a meningitis vaccine to cover meningococcal meningitis going into 6th grade (ages 11 and 12). This vaccine covers the four most common strains (A, C, Y and W) of the meningococcal bacterial in the United States. Because this vaccine’s protection wanes after five years, the Center for Disease Control recommends that all children ages 16-18 receive a booster immunization to provide additional protection against this deadly illness. Meningitis is a serious infection causing inflammation around the brain and the spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungal infections. Meningococcal meningitis is a rare type of bacterial meningitis affecting 800-1200 Americans each year. Although rare, meningococcal meningitis can cause severe permanent disabilities including death, amputation of a limb, neurologic disease and deafness. Treatment requires proper diagnosis and initiation of antibiotics. Meningococcal meningitis is very contagious spread via every day activities such as kissing, sharing utensils, water bottles, and living in close quarters such as dormitories, therefore teens are at increased risk.  For more information on meningococcal vaccination please go to

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