Meningitis B vaccine has halved number of cases in babies tests show

first_imgDr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “This is without doubt great news. Men B is a rare, but terrible disease. It’s cut many lives short and can leave children maimed for life, causing devastation for their families. Now we know this vaccine can and will save lives and prevent life-long disability.“The programme is still in its early days, so we will be monitoring the longer-term impact of the vaccine through our surveillance programme. But the benefit of the vaccine is clear. We hope countries around the world looking at these results will consider introducing similar vaccination programmes, hopefully saving the lives of many, many children.”Men B can cause meningitis, an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia or blood poisoning, both potentially fatal illnesses.With early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment, most children make a full recovery, but it is fatal in one in 10 cases. About one in ten of those who survive are left with severe long-term problems, such as limb loss, and one in three have less serious problems including deafness and learning difficulties.The vaccine, called Bexsero, is offered as three jabs, one at two months, a second at four months and a final booster one at 12 months.  Toddler with meningitis England is the first country in the world to introduce an infant vaccine programme.The data, presented at a conference in Manchester, found the vaccine was effective against 83 per cent of MenB strains, in the infants given it. One in 10 of those infected with meningococcal infection dies, either from meningitis or from a deadly form of septicaemia.Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “These early results are great news for families everywhere. This is the first real-world evidence that shows the national MenB immunisation programme for children under age one is effective and saving lives.”He urged health officials to go further, and extend the vaccine programme to other age groups – in particular teenagers.“Introducing the MenB vaccine in the UK for babies in 2015 was a major step forward, but restricting the vaccine to only this narrow highest risk age group can never prevent the majority of cases,” he said. “We will continue to convince the UK government that everyone needs protection,” he said. “We believe vaccinating teenagers could be the key to achieving this, as it may stop them picking up and passing on the bacteria.” Images tweeted by rugby player Matt Dawson of his son Sam suffering from meningitisCredit:Matt Dawson Faye Burdett healthy and sick Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more