By Briana Davis, Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc.
SAN ANTONIO - Meningococcal disease is a rare but devastating bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the protective structures surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningcoccal bacteria are the primary cause of fatal meningitis outbreaks across the country and most frequently affect children and young adults. Meningitis may also result from of a viral infection. Viral meningitis occurs more often, but is milder than bacterial meningitis
Each year in the U.S. approximately 2,500 people will be diagnosed with bacterial meningitis
. As many as 10-15% of those who contract the disease will die despite treatment, while 20% will suffer with long term disabilities such as loss of limbs, brain damage, kidney failure, hearing loss or paralysis.
Meningococcal disease is a contagious infection that spreads from direct or close contact with the nose or throat during sneezing or coughing by an infected person. This risk is increased in environments where individuals experience close contact with one another such as dormitories or daycare facilities.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease develop rapidly, from several hours or up to 3-4 days of initial exposure, and mimic symptoms of the common flu. Some individuals will become very ill, experiencing symptoms such as fever, vomiting, irritability in children, decreased appetite, severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness, confusion, a purple rash which does not fade when pressed or cold hands and feet. As symptoms progress, an infected individual may also experience seizures.
Meningococcal disease can result in sudden death and requires prompt aggressive treatment with intravenous antibiotics such as ceftriaxone and penicillin. Currently there are three recommended meningitis vaccines
available to prevent four types of the meningococcus germ which cause meningitis (types A, C, Y, W-135). Unfortunately there is no current vaccine available for type B, which is responsible for one-third of the meningitis cases affecting adolescents.
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is currently conducting a pediatric research study on a meningitis B vaccine for healthy children and adolescents 10-17 years of age. If you would like to learn more about this study, please call 210-949-0122 or visit us at SAresearch.com