Invasive meningococcal disease burden and prophylaxis: update on serogroup B vaccination.
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a serious bacterial infection commonly presenting as meningitis or sepsis. Transmitted through the mouth and nose secretions, it has rapidly evolving symptoms that can cause death in 24-48 hours if untreated and may also have devastating consequences, such as loss of limbs, seizures, stroke, as well as impairment of vision, speech, and hearing. Serogroup (Men) B is the pathogen responsible for most of cases of IMD in Europe, America, and Australia. The World Health Organization considers that vaccination is the most effective approach to defeat meningococcal meningitis. For now, there is no single vaccine that protects against all serogroups causing IMD. Conjugate polysaccharide vaccines against MenACWY have been available for years, and only recently two MenB vaccines have been developed. MenACWY vaccination for adolescents aged 12 years is included in the Spanish National Immunization Program and the Spanish Association of Paediatrics suggests the systematic inclusion of the MenB vaccine as well for infants, as it is the most prevalent serogroup in Spain. Pharmacists play an essential role as healthcare agents, advising and dispensing every day to patients who visit the pharmacy. This review provides information that will help pharmacists to answer questions relevant to IMD and prophylaxis with the available vaccines, so that they can explain to parents the importance of booster doses and vaccination schedule completion.