High Risk Individuals Should Get Meningococcal Disease Vaccine

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Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects all age groups. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal infections can be treated with drugs such as penicillin.

Miami-Dade County Health Department Officials advise high risk individuals the importance of getting the meningococcal disease vaccine.

The Miami-Dade County Health Department recommendations for meningococcal vaccine are as follows:

A dose of meningococcal vaccine is recommended for children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age. This dose is normally given during the routine preadolescent immunization visit (at 11-12 years).

Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for other people at increased risk for meningococcal disease:

* College freshmen living in dormitories;

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* Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria;

* U.S. military recruits;

* Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa;

* Anyone who has a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed;

* Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder);

* People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.

Parents inquiring where to receive the meningococcal vaccine for their children should contact their private physicians. If the child does not have a private physician, the parents may contact the Miami-Dade County Health Department Special Immunization Program. The Special Immunization's Program offers the vaccine to children 11-18 years of age at no charge.

The vaccine is available for adults at numerous private clinics throughout the county. These individuals can also get the vaccine at the Miami-Dade County Health Department for a charge of $122.49.

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