A new study has shown the children and teenagers who had been immunised against epidemic meningococcal B disease are five times less likely to be infected than those who haven't been vaccinated.
Reports have shown that the biggest mass immunisation campaign that had taken place among the young New Zealanders has resulted in a five-fold reduction in the risk of acquiring Meningococcal B disease. The officials from the Ministry of health have stated that according to the initial results of the study conducted by the
Victoria University of Wellington has showed that the children who were not immunised were almost five times more likely to suffer the disease. Stating that this disease has affected nearly 6,000 people since the epidemic began in 1981, they said that this disease has killed 239 people in a 25-year epidemic that has hit the country.
It has been reported that 1-in-5 of the survivors have been left with some degree of disability, that includes hearing loss, brain damage, amputation or scarring. Dr Jane O'Hallahan, the director of the immunisation programme has said that if the current trends continue, then substantial progress will been made towards ending the epidemic by the end of the year, which means it could be ended technically several years before its natural end.
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection, which causes severe illnesses including meningitis that is an infection of membranes covering the brain, and septicaemia a serious blood infection. Officials at the ministry have explained hat though anyone is vulnerable to the disease, the biggest risk group would be teenagers and children under 20 yrs of age, and more than half of those in that group are below 5 yrs.