A vaccine is available for some of the different types of meningitis. For example, a vaccine has been developed to prevent infection due to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). It is recommended for all children two months to five years of age. Other examples include the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4). A newly licensed vaccine appears to be effective for the prevention of pneumococcal infections in infants.
There are several causes of spinal meningitis. The two most common are bacteria and viruses.
Several bacteria can cause meningitis (see Causes of Spinal Meningitis). Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae.
Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis. Just like with Hib, there are vaccines against some types of N. meningitidis and many types of S. pneumoniae.
There is a meningitis vaccine to prevent disease due to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). It is recommended for children two months to five years of age. The Hib vaccine is also recommended in people over the age of five with certain medical conditions. It is safe and effective, with rare occurrences of side effects.
(Click Hib Vaccine for more information.)