FDA Approves Expanded Meningitis Vaccine for Infants

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.