Inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spine is a hallmark of meningitis.

Among babies and toddlers or small children, the disease is most commonly associated with infection with a bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae B. It may develop both following a viral infection and following a bacterial infection.

Although this article discusses a vaccine that is only designed to protect against this particular bacteria, it is important to keep in mind that the disease can also develop following infection by other pathogens, such as streptococcus, meningococcus, and pneumococcal bacteria.

Dr Baseem Namouz - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis - DTaP

In addition to headaches, high fever, apathy, blurred consciousness, stiff neck, and pneumonia, arthritis, bone infections, and trachea infections, the bacterium may also be responsible for trachea infections.

Occasionally, meningitis can cause irreversible damage to the brain, including cognitive impairment, deafness, convulsions, and even death. By kissing, sneezing, or coughing, the bacterium can pass from a sick person to a healthy person through secretions from the pharynx and nose.

While the disease is not considered dangerous if it affects adults, it can be fatal for children under the age of 5.

Meningitis vaccine

In the vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae B virus, certain components from the outer shell of the bacterium are attached to a protein found in the toxin of the bacterium. Following the injection of the vaccine, the immune system develops antibodies against the bacteria without exhibiting any symptoms of the disease. As part of the quintet vaccine, the vaccine is included in the immunization routine in Israel since 1994.

In addition to meningitis, the pentavalent vaccine contains additional compounds to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The vaccine is administered in four doses: the first at the age of two months, the second at the age of four months, the third at the age of six months, and the last at the age of one year. Additionally, an additional booster dose is administered on the day of recruitment to the IDF. The vaccine is administered by injection into the arm muscle.

How does the vaccine affect the body?

After receiving the vaccine, the most common symptoms include redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site. Other less common symptoms include restlessness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, high fever, and rash. In the case of mild symptoms that disappear within forty-eight hours, there is no need to worry, but in the case of serious symptoms that do not subside, it is imperative to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Any case of diarrhea, vomiting, or an allergic reaction manifesting as a widespread rash, edema, or breathing difficulties should be seen by a doctor.