It is important to note, that there is no vaccine to protect against all strains of meningitis. There are many types of bacteria, viruses and fungi that cause meningitis which currently cannot be prevented by vaccination. Therefore knowing the signs and symptoms and seeking medical attention right away are critical to a good prognosis.
In Canada, currently there are vaccines for Hib, meningococcal and pneumococcal disease. Since the virus that causes mumps can also cause meningitis too, the MMR vaccine also protects children from one type of viral meningitis.
Types of vaccines available in Canada:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. Before 1992, Hib meningitis was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children. However Hib vaccines now available as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule in Canada, have greatly reduced the number of cases of this type of meningitis.
Meningococcal vaccine prevents many Neisseria meningitidis infections. There are many strains of the meningococcus bacterium. The most common are groups A, B, C, Y and W135. A new vaccine to protect against group B was approved in Canada in December 2013 and is now available for purchase.
Pneumococcal vaccine prevents many Streptococcus pneumoniae infections. The pneumococus bacterium can cause other serious infections such as pneumonia, blood poisoning and septic arthritis, as well as infections such as otitis media and sinusitis.
Please consult your professional healthcare provider for more information on vaccinations and the childhood immunization schedule.