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Recommended vaccination against bacterial meningitis in infants and adolescents

Recommended vaccination against bacterial meningitis in infants and adolescents

Recommended vaccination against bacterial meningitis in infants and adolescents

 

•Dr Antonio Conejo, coordinator of the Paediatric Unit at Vithas Xanit Hospital, explains the differences between the bacterial and viral meningitis.

•Infants are those who suffer the most of bacterial meningitis in a direct form, followed by teenagers who are the second in frequency and the main age group to be colonised by bacteria. 



On the occasion of the World Meningitis Day to be held tomorrow, Dr Antonio Conejo, coordinator of the Paediatric Unit at Vithas Xanit Hospital insists that vaccination is the main prevention measure available.


There are three different types of meningitis: viral meningitis, which is the most common and is produced by a multitude of different viruses; bacterial meningitis, the most serious of all, caused by different bacteria, with the most frequent bacteria in our environment being the Meningococcus and Pneumococcus; and tuberculous meningitis. 


"In the case of invasive outbreak due to meningococcus, this bacteria nowadays still involves risk of death and permanent sequelae, with great impact on the patients, their family and their environment, vaccination is the main tool for prevention," explains the specialist, who clarifies that "it is important to note that despite the potential severity of the disease, currently is uncommon in Spain, with the majority of the cases in children under 5 years of age and those over 65".


Although the majority of cases occur in patients under the age of 5, mainly those under the age of 1, we must keep on mind that the main age group carrier of meningococcus in the nasopharynx are adolescents and it is them who spread the disease to other age groups. This is why we insist on the vaccination in these two groups: "Infants (under 1 year), because they are the those who suffer the most from the disease directly and adolescents, for being the second age group in frequency affected by the disease and the main group to be colonised by the meningococcus".


The symptoms of all types of meningitis depend on the age of the patient. "In general, the younger the child, the more the symptoms will be nonspecific, although the fever is present in virtually all cases. In new-borns and small children, in addition, we can see irritability or drowsiness. In older children, the most common symptoms are headaches, vomiting, neck stiffness, or a tendency to sleep. In all cases seizures or other signs of neurological involvement may appear. The range of possibilities is very wide," explains the specialist, who adds that, in any event, it is important to note that these symptoms may be nonspecific, and may accompany any other banal infectious process, so when in doubt, assessing the patient by a paediatrician is essential.



With regard to the treatments, Dr Antonio Conejo explains that when it comes to viral meningitis no treatment is required in almost all cases, "As is the case in many other viral infections, since they are banal processes that get resolved on their own after a few days, so the only treatment is the habitual analgesics to control the possible symptoms. Many of those cases do not even require hospitalization and can be treated at home. An important exception is the case of infection by the herpes virus (herpetic meningoencephalitis), which is a very serious condition that requires hospitalization, sometimes in PICU, and prolonged intravenous antiviral treatment. Bacterial meningitis requires in all cases hospitalization and intravenous antibiotic treatment, sometimes with more than one antibiotic, until the causal germ is identified. Furthermore, patient may need other treatments depending on the individual cases, such as corticoids, antiepileptic drugs or intravenous fluids".



The Vithas Promise: high quality accredited healthcare, personal service and long-term investment 


Vithas is the first healthcare company made of 100% Spanish capital, and the second largest national private healthcare company. Each year they attend more than 5.000.000 patients in their 19 hospitals and 27 Vithas Salud Specialised centres. The 46 centres are distributed throughout Spain and the main hospitals are in Alicante, Almería, Benalmádena, Castellón, Granada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Madrid, Málaga, Sevilla, Tenerife, Vigo, Valencia and Vitoria-Gasteiz. The 27 Vithas Salud medical centers are situated in Alicante, Almuñecar, Elche, El Ejido, Fuengirola, Granada, La Estrada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Madrid, Málaga, Marín, Nerja, Pontevedra, Rincón de la Victoria, Sanxenxo, Sevilla, Torre del Mar, Torremolinos, Vilagarcía, and Vitoria-Gasteiz. 



Vithas also counts upon the 300 blood extraction points throughout Spain on behalf of VithasLab network of laboratories, and their own purchase centre PlazaSalud24, which posing as a benchmark in the sector, offers service to over 39 hospitals, 35 medical centres and 20 dental clinics. Lastly, Vithas Healthcare Group has a strategic agreement with the Juaneda network in the Balearic Islands, who have 5 hospitals and a wide network of medical centres spread throughout the region.



Vithas strives to accomplish a high quality accredited healthcare, along with personalised service. The shareholders are united in their support and vision for the long term:  Goodgrower, who controls 80% of the capital, and the ‘la Caixa’ Group who has the remaining 20%.



With a growth model which is based upon geographic diversification and sustainability, Vithas continues to consolidate their presence throughout Spain with the opening of new centres and acquisitions. 


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