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Taking Precautions against Meningitis

May 1st, 2011 by | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Do cochlear implant recipients have a higher risk for meningitis?  How can I prevent meningitis?  What is meningitis?  These are common questions asked by cochlear implant recipients and parents of cochlear implant recipients.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  There are two types of meningitis, viral and bacterial.  Bacterial meningitis is the one for which cochlear implant recipients have slightly higher risk than those who do not have cochlear implants.

There are vaccines to prevent meningitis.  The type of vaccines and dosage varies by the age of cochlear implant recipients.  Here is some information from Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Children who have cochlear implants or are candidates for cochlear implants who have not received any previous doses of PCV7, should receive PCV13 as it is recommended routinely for all infants and children.
  • Older children with cochlear implants (between their 2nd and 6th birthdays) should receive 2 doses of PCV13, if they have not received any doses of PCV7 or PCV13 previously. If they have already completed the 4-dose PCV7 series, they should receive one dose of PCV13 through age 71 months.
  • In addition, children 6 through 18 years of age with cochlear implants may receive a single dose of PCV13, regardless of whether they have previously received PCV7 or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) (Pneumovax®).
  • In addition to receiving PCV13, children with cochlear implants should receive one dose of PPSV at age 2 years or older and after completing all recommended doses of PCV13.
  • Adult patients (19 and older) who are candidates for a cochlear implant, and those who have received a cochlear implant, should be given a single dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV).

Here is information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on symptoms of meningitis:

  • high fever
  • discomfort looking into bright lights
  • headache
  • sleepiness or tiredness
  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • ear pain
  • vomiting
  • hearing loss
  • irritability
  • appetite loss

Here are some links from various sources on meningitis and vaccination:

Frequent Asked Questions from CDC

Advice for Patients with Cochlear Implants: New Information on Meningitis Risk from FDA

Recommendations from University of Miami School of Medicine

Can We Prevent Cochlear Implant Recipients from Developing Pneumococcal Meningitis? from Oxford Journal

Please be aware that while recipients should take precautions to prevent meningitis, it is still extremely rare to get it.  According to the FDA, as of April 2009, only 122 cases of meningitis in cochlear implant recipients out of 188,000 recipients were reported.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a physician or a clinician.  Please consult your physician on more information about vaccination against meningitis.

1 Comment

April 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

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