US FDA expands range for Sanofi meningitis vaccine

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WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) The US Food and Drug Administration today broadened its approved age range for patients getting a vaccine for bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly inflammatory infection.

The FDA expanded the approved age range for the vaccine, called Menactra and made by Sanofi-Aventis, to those between the ages of 2 through 10 years. Previously, it was approved for ages 11 through 55.

''Approving Menactra for younger children offers another option for health-care providers and parents. Now there are two vaccines available for children between 2 and 10 years of age who may be at increased risk of meningitis,'' said Jesse L Goodman, MD, director of FDA's center for biologics.

About 2,600 people fall ill annually from bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal chord, with 10 percent dying from the infection, the FDA said.

REUTERS RSA RAI2301

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