Pfizer Canada Inc. has announced the availability of TRUMENBA (meningococcal group B vaccine) in Canada, following approval by Health Canada in October 2017. TRUMENBA is a vaccine indicated to help prevent invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B bacteria, for individuals 10 through 25 years of age.

 Gram-negative Neisseria meningitidis diplococcal bacteria/CDC
Gram-negative Neisseria meningitidis diplococcal bacteria/CDC

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a rare but potentially devastating disease. It is characterized by rapid onset and can be fatal in up to 10% of infected people in as little as 24 hours following the first symptoms. In recent years, serogroup B invasive meningococcal disease (often referred to as “meningitis B”) accounted for 50 to 62% of reported cases of IMD in Canada. Approximately one in five survivors of meningitis B suffer from potentially life-altering consequences such as hearing loss, skin scarring, amputation, renal dysfunction and seizures.

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“After children aged four years and under, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 years have the highest rates of IMD caused by serogroup B in Canada. The bacteria can be transmitted via close contact found in crowded environments such as dorm living, and through typical adolescent and young adult behaviours including sharing drinks and utensils as well as kissing. Prevention is key,” says Dr. John Yaremko, Pediatrician and Assistant Professor, McGill University. “We hope the approval of TRUMENBA will help protect more individuals against this potentially devastating disease.”

“Parents should never have to deal with this disease and the possibility of the death of their child, but that is unfortunately what meningitis B can do to a family,” says Kathryn Blain, Founder, Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. “I urge parents and young adults to speak to their healthcare provider about prevention through vaccination.”