World's first vaccination against meningococcal serogroup B
Since December 2nd, parents have been able to vaccinate their children against meningococcal B (Neisseria meningitidis). These are intracellular bacteria that are among the most common triggers of meningitis and blood poisoning in children and infants. The product with the name "Bexsero" from the pharmaceutical company Novartis is the world's first vaccination against meningococci of serogroup B - so far only vaccines against meningococci of serogroups A, C, W, and Y were available.
Type B meningococcal most common triggers of bacterial meningitis According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, there have been around 400 meningococcal infections every year since 2008, primarily affecting young children and adolescents. This means that the number of cases is relatively low - but the risk of infection should not be underestimated, because it is still fatal in every tenth person affected. The background: Type B meningococci can cause severe meningitis, the so-called "meningitis", which is often accompanied by high fever, headache, dizziness, chills and sensitivity to light. It is particularly dangerous that the bacteria can lead to blood poisoning (sepsis), which in severe cases leads to amputations of the fingers, toes, arms or legs.
Children and infants particularly often affected
Type B meningococci are the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in Germany. Although the disease can occur in principle in any age group, babies, children and adolescents are particularly affected, and almost half of the patients are under four years old. According to the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ), vaccination is therefore an important step in protecting children: “We pediatricians can now protect particularly vulnerable infants, but also children and adolescents, from this serious illness. […] So far we have unfortunately had no way of preventing this dangerous infection. And precisely because the disease is so sudden and can lead to death within a day, we are very happy that we can now offer this vaccination protection to parents and their children, ”said Dr. Thomas Fischbach, board member of the professional association.
Vaccination possible from the third month of life According to the BVKJ, vaccination can be carried out from the third month of life. After every four weeks, however, this had to be repeated twice and refreshed after the second birthday. According to the BVKJ, some health insurance companies would pay for the costs, including the BKK exclusive, BKK firmus, BKK MERCK and BKK Technoform. However, parents should consult Dr. Thomas Fischbach should inquire with your health insurance company in advance whether the costs will actually be covered.
Saxon Vaccination Commission recommends vaccine from January 1, 2014. From the perspective of the professional association of pediatricians, the new vaccination is a new milestone in medicine: “We pediatricians have been waiting for this vaccination for a long time. The vaccination against meningococcal C recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission has already contributed to a decrease in meningitis cases. About two thirds of all meningococcal diseases in Germany are caused by group B pathogens. In this respect, we expect a further significant decrease in these diseases due to the introduction of this vaccination, which will be recommended by the Saxon Vaccination Commission in Saxony from 01/01/2014, ”said Dr. Thomas Fischbach, who is also a member of the representative assembly (VV) of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.
Judgment of the Robert Koch Institute is still pending To what extent the permanent vaccination committee (STIKO) will recommend the new vaccine, is still pending. The latter had set up a cooperation with a working group at the University of Bristol to examine the epidemiological and health economic effects with regard to a possible vaccination recommendation. The background: Although it is a serious illness with a high lethality, “the number of illnesses [.] Has been decreasing steadily since 2003 even without vaccination,” according to the RKI. In addition, it is a completely new active ingredient. (No)