Two children with cochlear implants, ages 9 and 11, have died from meningitis, and one of them appears to have died from the serotype Streptococcus pneumoniae which is preventable with a complete vaccination. It has been well-known by the medical community that children with cochlear implants are at a greater risk of contracting bacterial meningitis from Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. And those children that have the cochlear impant with a positioner component have an increased risk of contracting the bacteria. However, a study by Johns Hopkins University of revealed that 72% of the parents of children with the implants did not know whether their children had been fully immunized or not.
The FDA is publishing this new warning to stress to parents the importance of the vaccines and to ensure that each child completes the two-stage immunization. The recommendations include checking with your physician for the child’s history of immunizations, taking your child to the doctor at the first sign of middle ear infections or meningitis, and ensuring that the child completes any regime of antibiotic prescribed by the physician. The final advice to parents of children with cochlear implants is to be sure that your child has completed the full vaccination program to protect them from this deadly disease.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.