A three year-old at my six year-old's school is ill with meningococcal. There is a general panic -- (not a whole lot of compassion for this poor family) -- and the school and authorities are prescribing a course of antibiotics for everyone.
Now, I am not as afraid of contagion (daughter is not in her class -- and even if...) as much as I am afraid of a bunch of kids with lowered immunity and resistance festering together at school.
Am I wrong about that? Won't everyone's taking a course of antibiotics actually increase the risk of it spreading? If yes, can you provide a link?
I live in Brazil, Men C is on the schedule here for 3, 6, 9 months I believe (for private pay, not free state given vax). I didn't get it for my daughter at those times, but haven't ruled out anything in future either...
There is an outbreak in a different state recently, I was reading about it, but I am unclear if it was B or C, (there is no vaccine for B strain).
Prophylactic antibiotics is the standard course for anyone close to an infected individual. Personally, I would be way more afraid of Meningococcal than any issues with antibiotics.
The vaccine is pretty effective, but no vaccine is 100%. The abx is commonly prescribed to individuals with known exposure as a backup, and because the vaccine doesn't cover all strains. Meningitis is very scary. I hope the child recovers well.
It's hard to find a link to refute a generic concern about antibiotics. I understand why you would want to lay your concern to rest, though, and I think it's important. Can you explain your concern about what the antibiotics might do? If I know why you think antibiotics might increase the risk of the disease spreading, it will be easier to find you information.
Personally I don't like the idea of antibiotics as a preventative....they were designed to fight infection, not ward it off. Oral antibiotics wreak havoc on the digestive system by indescriminately killing off ALL bacteria - good and bad. Unfortunately the bad bacteria is much quicker to recolonize than the good stuff, so you're left with digestive issues and that can lead to later infection. A healthy tract can ward off bad bacteria, an unhealthy one cannot. I won't take antibiotics unless my Dr can tell me what bacteria I have, none of this "oh you have a sniffle let me give you what I THINK will fix it" and I certainly wouldn't give any antibiotics to my daughter for the same reasons. I'm a fan of boosting the immune system - megadose vit c, b complex, zinc, and herbal or homeopathic remedies.
I don't like antibiotic overuse either, but meningitis trumps that. Prophylactic antibiotics for people who have been exposed to dangerous infections do cut infection rates, and meningitis is a BIG DEAL. It infects your brain. I would rather deal with the temporary impacts of the abx than the potential lifelong consequences of the meningitis (or death, which it also causes).
Meningococcal is a BIG deal, especially in the speed the disease progresses, and it has a pretty high rate of mortality/serious long term issues. I think in this case, preventative antibiotics are more than warranted for people with close personal contact. You can always take steps during/after antibiotics to recolonize with good bacteria/boost immune system in other ways.
I give my kids (and myself) live culture yogurt when we have to do abx. You can also get probiotics at the health food store, but I prefer yogurt. We usually get plain yogurt and sweeten it with maple syrup, which my kids think is a HUGE treat. In my experience, it's very effective - no diarrhea.
A number of supplements also cause diarrhea in megadoses - vitamin C is well known for it, but vitamin B can toot - and that can wipe out your gut flora too. High doses of zinc can cause fever, coughing, stomach pain, and fatigue, according to WebMD. All of that would be worthwhile if they protected you from meningitis, but they don't. There's no need for the meningitis bacteria to go through your gut to infect your brain.
I wouldn't hesitate giving the abx....just give heavy doses of probiotics in between.
A very close friend almost lost her husband just a few months ago to meningitis (though it was the pneumicoccal form) He had a stroke while fighting the infection, was in ICU with a 50/50 chance of surviving, and a 50/50 chance of long term disability (he does have some lasting side effects) It was horrifying hearing her/her husbands experience.Turns out when the husband came home with a walker, he was chatting with someone who was on his way to visit a family who lost a 10 year old to meningitis.
I knew another relative of a friend (mother with 3 young kids) who got meningitis recently (again the P form) and went into multiple organ failure -still don't know what has happened to her.
Because it was the P form, abx were not necessary for them, but they wouldn't have thought twice.
I'm not big on the scare factor of many of the standard "scare stories" but this one is for real.
If your child got sick (and you suspected meningitis), they would need a lumbar puncture to confirm diagnosis and they would start on abx until the results got back anyway.
I don't know the stats on how effective preventitive abx are or if it's a drug resistant strain, or if weakening the system makes it easier to catch it of course that could make things more confusing -
My friends family were treated like they were dirty and contagious for weeks after, I hope that poor family has some support, and the child recovers well.
I'm sorry you guys are faced with this decision too - it would really stress me out.