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Cochlear Implants and Meningitis

Is there a relationship between cochlear implants and meningitis? Researchers have seen that people with cochlear implants may be more likely to get bacterial meningitis, especially pneumococcal meningitis. The pneumococcal meningitis vaccine (using the schedule for people at high risk) is usually recommended for people with cochlear implants.

An Overview of Cochlear Implants and Meningitis

During a meningitis research study in October 2002, researchers saw that people with cochlear implants might be more likely to get bacterial meningitis, especially pneumococcal meningitis.
  

Cochlear Implants and Meningitis: Immunizations

Because of the increased risk of developing meningitis, it is recommended that people with cochlear implants get the pneumococcal vaccine using the schedule for people who are at high risk.
 
Recommendations for the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccination vary with age and each person's vaccination history. The following immunization schedule provides age-specific information. However, any immunization decisions should be discussed with a healthcare provider first.
 
Children Younger Than Two
Children younger than two years of age who have cochlear implants should get pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar® or Prevnar 13™) according to the routine schedule for this age group.
 
Children Two Years of Age and Older
Children who have cochlear implants, who are two years of age or older, and who have completed the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar or Prevnar 13) series should have one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax® 23).
 
If they have just gotten the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, they should wait at least two months following the last dose before getting the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
 
Children who have cochlear implants, who are 24 through 59 months of age, and who have never had either the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine should get a total of two doses of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine two or more months apart and then, at least two months later, should get one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
 
People who have cochlear implants and who are five years of age or older should get one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
 
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