(AP) -- Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis, said Monday the Food and Drug Administration approved the company's bacterial meningitis vaccine Menactra for children between the ages of 9 months and 23 months.
The disease is fairly rare in the United States, but those who get it develop symptoms quickly and can die in only a few days. Survivors can suffer mental disabilities, hearing loss and paralysis. The bacteria is spread by coughing, sneezing and kissing, and most cases occur in previously healthy children and young adults.
The company said this is the first U.S. approval for a bacterial meningitis vaccine for the age group between 9 months and 23 months.
Menactra was already approved for people ages 11 through 55 and children between 2 and 10 years old.
Explore further: FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections