A new vaccination programme protecting babies against meningococcal B is being rolled out across the UK
Medical negligence specialists at Leigh Day welcome the new vaccination programme for babies that has started across the UK to vaccinate against meningitis and septicaemia caused by the meningococcal B (“MenB”) infection. The MenB vaccine will be offered to babies at two, four and twelve months old as part of routine immunisation programme for children.
Meningococcal infection is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK. The disease is caused by a bacterium called the Meningococcus and there are five main groups that commonly cause the disease, A, B, C W and Y. Meningococcal disease can strike at any age but most cases occur in babies and young children, the next most vulnerable group being teenagers and young adults.
MenB is now the most common meningococcal strain in the UK. There are approximately 1,500 reported cases of meningococcal disease each year. Around 7% of cases will result in death. Of those who survive, 15% will be left with severe and disabling after-effects such as loss of hearing, loss of sight and brain damage.
Meningococcal disease requires urgent treatment with antibiotics and rapid admission to hospital. If treated promptly, it is less likely to become life-threatening.
Vaccines are the only way to prevent infectious illnesses such as meningococcal disease, and because sometimes those suffering from Men B cannot get treatment in time, they are the safest way of reducing those who are injured or die as a result of this infection.
However, sadly there isn’t a vaccine to protect everyone against all strains of meningitis, so awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease, remaining vigilant and getting medical help quickly is vital.
Although bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, the problem with meningococcal disease is its swiftness.
The clinical negligence specialists here at Leigh Day sadly see the devastating consequences bacterial meningitis can have all too often. We act for a number of clients or relatives whose worst injuries could have been avoided had their symptoms been recognised earlier.
“We welcome the vaccination programme that has been introduced for babies to protect them against MenB. However, it is important to remember that bacterial meningitis can affect anyone and not only babies and it crucial that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of this horrible disease. Like in Will’s case sadly many patients do not present with the symptoms which are commonly associated with meningococcal disease so their absence should not be falsely reassuring.”