What you should know
The CDC and FDA, in partnership with state health departments, have recently completed an investigation that found children with cochlear implants have a higher chance of getting bacterial meningitis than children without cochlear implants. Some children who are candidates for cochlear implants may have factors that increase their risk of meningitis even before they get a cochlear implant. However, this investigation was not designed to determine the risk of meningitis in children who are candidates for cochlear implants but don't have them.
Because people with cochlear implants are at increased risk for meningitis, CDC recommends that people with cochlear implants follow recommendations for pneumococcal vaccinations that apply to members of other groups at increased risk. Recommendations for the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccination vary with age and vaccination history and should be discussed with a health care provider.Recommendations for people with cochlear implants aged two years and older include the following:
Worldwide, there are over 90 known reports of people getting meningitis after getting a cochlear implant. This is out of approximately 60,000 people who have cochlear implants.
Meningitis is an infection. The infection is in the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. There are two main types of meningitis, viral and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is the most serious type. It is the type that has been reported in people with cochlear implants. Depending on the cause of the meningitis, the symptoms, treatment, and outcomes differ.
Bacterial meningitis can be caused by several different kinds of bacteria. Four vaccines protect against most of these bacteria. The vaccines are:
Meningitis in people with cochlear implants is most commonly caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Children with cochlear implants are more likely to get pneumococcal meningitis than children without cochlear implants.None of the children in the investigation had meningococcal meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. There is no evidence that children with cochlear implants are more likely to get meningococcal meningitis than children without cochlear implants.