There are all sorts of things that can cause this nasty inflammation (swelling) of the membranes covering the brain, such as a bacterial or vial infection, injury, cancer, certain drugs, among other types of infection.
We have the Meningitis B Vaccine to protect against meningococcal group B bacteria-causing meningitis–a very nasty and potentially deadly form of meningitis. (Bacterial meningitis requires immediate medical attention.)
We also have several vaccines that can help protect from viral meningitis–an often less severe form of meningitis, however still very serious.
The WHO estimates that globally Streptococcus pneumonia kills close to 500,000 children under 5 years annually. That’s a HUGE number. And that’s just children UNDER FIVE.
S. pneumonia can cause diseases such as pneumonia. meningitis, and bacteremia. (Refer to graphic below.) These are diseases that put babies and children in the hospital.
I’ve been hospitalized twice for pneumonia and I can’t imagine having to watch my child or any child go through such pain and suffering.
We do have a vaccine to help protect from this disease. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV)–there are two versions–have had clear public health benefits. Not only does it reduce the invasive disease in vaccinated children, but also in elderly adults who benefit from herd immunity.
Coverage is increasing globally, but it’s nowhere near optimal vaccination rates.
Most of these child deaths occur in developing countries where they do not yet have access to vaccines.
I once heard someone say that when you sneeze, droplets of saliva fly through the air and can land five feet away.Five feet!? Yuck! I’m not sure EXACTLY how far those droplets are carried through the air, but what I am sure of is that within those droplets are potentially millions of viral particles and thousands of bacterial cells.
One nasty bacteria in particular, called Haemophilus influenza (H. influenza), may be living in your nose and throat at all times and you do not even know it. In fact, you may not have ever come down with the illness and still have it in your body. And unfortunately, should someone who has it cough or sneeze and your child inhales the particles, it has the potential to make your child life-threateningly ill.