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New meningitis vaccine for babies

6th February 2006

A new vaccine developed for pneumococcal meningitis might be given to babies in the UK.

Pneumococcal meningitis is one of the most deadly forms of the disease and the second biggest cause of bacterial meningitis in Britain, affecting about 400 children a year and killing around 50.

The Department of Health is considering giving two doses of the vaccine to babies in their first year of life, but has stressed that no decision has yet been reached.

The United States government has already introduced the vaccine, but there were concerns in the UK about the expense of the jabs, which cost around ?34.50 a shot.

Some reports suggest that a immunisation programme for infants could be introduced as early as April this year.

Pneumococcal meningitis causes blood poisoning, meningitis and pneumonia and can kill in severe cases, leaving many other victims with severe disabilities, such as brain damage or paralysis.

The rash generally associated with cases of meningitis is not usually seen with pneumococcal meningitis, making it more difficult to diagnose in the early stages.

The decision to consider a national vaccination programme has been welcomed by medical experts and parents.

track© Adfero Ltd

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