Children's Health

FDA Approves Expanded Meningitis Vaccine for Infants

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 03: Marina Spelzini, a registered nurse, measures out an H1N1 vaccine shot at the Miami Dade County Health Department downtown clinic on November 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  Unlike other parts of the country which are experiencing long lines and shortages of the vaccine, South Florida is not having this problem. The Miami-Dade County Health Department received 195,000 doses of the vaccine but has only given out about 10,100. Broward County has 52,000 doses on hand and has administered about 10,000 doses.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 03: Marina Spelzini, a registered nurse, measures out an H1N1 vaccine shot at the Miami Dade County Health Department downtown clinic on November 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Unlike other parts of the country which are experiencing long lines and shortages of the vaccine, South Florida is not having this problem. The Miami-Dade County Health Department received 195,000 doses of the vaccine but has only given out about 10,100. Broward County has 52,000 doses on hand and has administered about 10,000 doses. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (Getty Images)

A new vaccine for bacterial meningitis has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for infants between the ages of 9 months and 23 months.

The vaccine, Menactra, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, was previously approved for those older than 2 years old.

The disease is fairly rare in the United States, but those who get it develop symptoms quickly and can die in only a few days. Survivors can suffer mental disabilities, hearing loss and paralysis. The bacteria is spread by coughing, sneezing and kissing, and most cases occur in previously healthy children and young adults.

The company said this is the first U.S. approval for a bacterial meningitis vaccine for the age group between 9 months and 23 months.