In Germany the rate of occurrence of meningococcal meningitis is approximately 1:100 000, which means that in Germany on average approx. 800 people fall ill every year; of these approx. 75% pertain to the serotype B, the rest is distributed among C, W135, Y and A.
The virus occurs in 5-10% of the population in the oropharynx without creating disease symptoms. Only a small number of the infected people contracts the disease. There seems to be a certain immune weakness in contracting meningitis or as a result of meningococci.
Bacterial meningitis is primarily a disease of small children and adolescents the frequency of which depends on the population structure. In poorer countries bacterial meningitis occurs much more frequently tan in industrialized states.
The vaccination against meningococcal C was only an indication vaccination, such as for epidemics or travelling.
As of July 1, 2003, Saxony’s Vaccination Commission SIKO published additional recommendations for vaccinations with conjugated meninggococcal C vaccines for the state of Saxony. In accordance with this the following recommendations hold true for Saxony: vaccination with conjugated mengococcal C vaccines for all children older than 3 months and for adolescents up to the 18 years of age.
As of July 2006 the general vaccination recommendations for Germany are expanded by the vaccination against mengococcal C. The standard vaccination for two-year-olds only protects against a small part of meningococcal infections: Group C is displaying a decreasing tendency in all age groups (2002: 32%; 2005: 22%, under 5-year olds 16%); in children younger than 6 years of age it was shown in 67 cases in 2003, in 46 cases in 2004, in 27 cases in 2005. In children ages 1 to 4 years old, who profit from the standard vaccination, there was only one mortality in 2005 caused by meninggococcal C (NRZM (Nationales Referenzzentrum für Meningokokken): Daten des Nationalen Referenzzentrums für Meningokokken für das Jahr 2005. Version 1.1, 2006. http://www.meningococcus.de/). Presently there is no vaccine against meningococcal group B which is prevalent in Germany. The general vaccine recommendation for two-year-olds only pertains to group C which only plays a minor and tendentially decreasing role in this group.
Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis are recommended for travels in countries of the meningitis belt in Africa south of the Sahara, especially during the dry season (December to May/June) if the type of travel (duration more than 1 month) comprises a higher degree of danger, such as adventure travels, close contact with the locals or a certain epidemiological situation.
The vaccination is mandatory for pilgrims and seasonal workers in Saudi Arabia (Haji, Umrah). For epidemiological reasons vaccinations there should be against sero group A, C and W135 (ACWY-vaccine). The vaccination is valid 10 days before and three years after administration.
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