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Study Supports Vaccination After Cochlear Implants

Immunization against S. pneumoniae suggested for protection against meningitis

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Cochlear implant recipients should be vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae to lower their risk of meningitis, based on benefits observed in an animal model, according to research published in the October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Benjamin P.C. Wei, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, and colleagues inserted cochlear implants in 36 rats, half of which had been vaccinated with 23-valent pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). The animals were then inoculated with bacteria either intraperitoneally, via the middle ear, or via the inner ear.

The immunization protected the animals from meningitis when the bacteria were introduced intraperitoneally or through the middle ear, but only offered moderate protection when the bacteria entered the inner ear.

"The current recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are that all current and future cochlear implant recipients should receive age-appropriate vaccination with either PPV23 or PCV7 (pneumococcal conjugated vaccine). Our study strongly supports this recommendation," the authors write.

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