Menactra offers protection against invasive meningococcal diseases, such as bacterial meningitis. The vaccine is recommended for certain groups of people, such as children between 11 and 18 years of age, people with a damaged spleen, and college freshman who live in dormitories. Off-label uses of Menactra include giving the vaccine to people under the age of 9 months or over the age of 55.
Menactra® (meningococcal vaccine) is approved to provide protection against invasive meningococcal disease. It is used only to prevent meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis; it does not provide protection against any other types of bacteria.
Invasive meningococcal diseases include:
- Bacterial meningitis (a bacterial infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
- Bloodstream infections.
Invasive meningococcal diseases are quite serious, even if they are treated appropriately with antibiotics. For instance, as many as 10 to 15 percent of people treated with antibiotics for bacterial meningitis will die. Of those that survive, 11 to 19 percent have serious and sometimes devastating complications, such as loss of an arm or leg, deafness, seizures, strokes, or mental retardation. This is why it is so important to prevent invasive meningococcal diseases.
Menactra is used in individuals age 9 months through 55 years. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend the vaccine for all individuals in that age group. Routine vaccination with Menactra is recommended for the following groups:
- Almost all children and adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age
- College freshmen living in dormitories
- Laboratory workers who are routinely exposed to N. meningitidis
- United States military recruits
- Anyone living in or traveling to areas of the world where meningococcal disease is common
- Anyone with a damaged or removed spleen
- People with a specific immune system disorder known as "terminal complement component deficiency"
- People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.