PA --- meningitis and both students WERE vaccinated! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 31 Old 12-04-2011, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by stik View Post

That's a fascinating set of claims and questions.


Does it give people a false sense of security if they get the vax?  IMO, it shouldn't.  Meningitis can also be caused by viruses, and by a variety of conditions.  There isn't a single meningitis bacteria - there are a wide variety of bacteria that sometimes get into the brain and cause meningitis (swelling of the meninges - the membrane that surrounds and protects the brain).  The vaccine protects against some of the most common strains of bacteria that cause meningitis.  That reduces your chances of getting it.  You can still get viral meningitis, or get meningitis from a strain of bacteria not covered by the vaccine.  My doctors have always communicated clearly about this - no vaccines are 100% effective.  They reduce the chances you will get sick, but don't eliminate them.  Ending anti-meningitis vaccination would mean that a lot more people would get meningitis.  Meningitis isn't spread by most casual contact, but it can be passed on by people who don't appear sick, so there isn't an easily-defined alternative course of action that a typical meningitis victim would have taken if only they had known the vaccine might not protect them. 


As the vaccine makes it more difficult for the most common causes of bacterial meningitis to reproduce, those bacteria will become less prevalent, and other strains will become more common.  This is not mutation.  Some strains are disappearing, and thus are no longer competing for resources in their environment (the human body) with other strains.  Those other strains will then rise to prominence.  Consequently, the meningitis vaccine will have to be revised periodically, a process that is already in progress.  For more information see "The Changing Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease" at



Your 3rd paragraph makes an excellent point.


As for meningitis being caused by viruses as well, yes thats true, but viral meningitis is nowhere near as serious as bacterial meningitis.  The vaccine will not protect against viral meningitis, but is designed to lower the number of cases of bacterial meningitis - which is VERY serious. Viral meningitis can be serious, but does not result in the loss of limbs and loss of life that bacterial meningitis does.


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