4CMenB, a vaccine to protect children against one of the most common and deadly forms of meningitis, has been approved for use in Europe.
The 4CMenB vaccine licensed by the European Commission is the first to cover meningococcal B meningitis – until now vaccines had protected against only some of the bacterial types involved.
About 1,870 people contract meningitis B each year and one in 10 die.
Now the product is licensed in EC countries and it could be bought and used by healthcare providers.
About a quarter of all survivors of meningitis B are left with life altering after-effects, such as brain damage or limb loss.
Children under the age of five are the most at risk from the bacterial infection, which leads to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Experts say the jab is likely to be effective against 73% of the different variations of meningitis B.
A vaccine against the less common meningitis C has been administered since 1999 and is now widely given to babies in the first year of their life.
It has led to a large fall in the number of cases in people under the age of 20.
- Inflammation of membranes covering brain and spinal cord
- It can be caused by viruses or bacteria
- Meningitis B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in Europe
- It can also cause septicaemia
- There are a number of vaccines that can prevent many cases of viral and bacterial meningitis, including MMR, Meningitis C, PCV and DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination