The American Academy of Pediatrics say bacterial meningitis is especially deadly for adolescents, with a 20 percent death rate, compared to 10-15 percent among the rest of the population.
Since the illness tends to surface most among college kids in the dorms, that has always been the target group for immunizations. Here's what's new. The FDA has recently approved a new vaccine that lasts 10 years, instead of three to five, so that has prompted the CDC to change its guidelines to include a younger crowd.
"We're thrilled to cover more kids for this illness, hopefully this will prevent a number of meningitis deaths per year," says Ellen Rome M.D. at the Cleveland Clinic.
Bacterial meningitis infects the brain and spinal fluid, and it often starts with flu-like symptoms. The CDC says it hopes within the next three years, the supply of vaccine will be built up enough to provide it to all children over the age of 11.