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Meningitis After Vaccination in Eculizumab Recipients

WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 -- Meningococcal disease can occur in eculizumab recipients who have been vaccinated, according to research published in the July 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that administration of meningococcal vaccines is recommended for patients receiving eculizumab before beginning treatment, Lucy A. McNamara, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe cases of meningococcal disease in eculizumab recipients in the United States.

The researchers identified 16 cases of meningococcal disease in eculizumab recipients during 2008 to 2016. Eleven of these were caused by nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis. Fourteen of the patients had documentation of receipt of one or more doses of meningococcal vaccine before onset of disease.

"Because eculizumab recipients remain at risk for meningococcal disease even after receipt of meningococcal vaccines, some health care providers in the United States as well as public health agencies in other countries recommend antimicrobial prophylaxis for the duration of eculizumab treatment; a lifelong course of treatment is expected for many patients," the authors write. "Heightened awareness, early care seeking, and rapid treatment of any symptoms consistent with meningococcal disease are essential for all patients receiving eculizumab treatment, regardless of meningococcal vaccination or antimicrobial prophylaxis status."

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Posted: July 2017