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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Meningitis

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An indi vidual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 04/10/2000]
Question: Recently, a close friend passed away from this disease. I am now doing my research paper on it for my college course and want to know more about this. Why aren't we required to have a vaccine for this disease if it is so deadly?

Answer: The vaccine for spinal meningitis isn't effective against all the bacteria that cause the problem, merely one subgroup. Work is under way to develop a better vaccine. Find out what type of bacteria that he/she had. The current vaccine would protect only about 4-8% of current deaths. From a cost benefit point of view, hard to justify millions of injections for this. The military does use it and some universities are requiring it but it is not universally effective by any means.

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