FDA approves new vaccine for meningitis B

Meningococcal disease can have devastating effects.

Last week, a new vaccine for meningitis B called Trumenba received accelerated approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first of its kind, the vaccine is meant to prevent the invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B in individuals 10 through 25 years of age, according to the FDA press release.

Meningitis B is a life-threatening disease caused by bacterial infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The disease gained recent notoriety with outbreaks occurring on college campuses. One Georgetown University student and another San Diego State University student lost their lives to the disease, which infected dozens of others on these campuses. The most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows approximately 500 cases of bacterial meningitis in 2012, with 160 caused by meningitis B. 

"Recent outbreaks of serogroup B Meningococcal disease on a few college campuses have heightened concerns for this potentially deadly disease," Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research was quoted in the release. "The FDA's approval of Trumenba provides a safe and effective way to help prevent this disease in the United States."

This breakthrough could help care facilities save on treatment and observation costs, as well on the expensive antibiotic treatments that were normally routine procedure for meningitis B.

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