Meningococcal disease is caused by a systemic infection by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. Its causes an inflammation of the lining of the brain, the meninges. There are 6 disease-causing strains called serogroups (A, B, C, W, Y and X). Transmission is via prolonged or frequent direct contact with respiratory secretions of someone carrying the organism. Direct contact can be aerosol and droplet transmission.
Epidemics are frequent in sub-Saharan Africa and also on religious pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
A certificate of vaccination may be required if visiting Saudi Arabia. Please note only Meningitis C is given in schools. A single vaccine last 3 -5 years, this is dependent on Visa requirements.
Invasive meningococcal disease usually presents as meningitis or septicaemia.
Symptoms of meningitis include:
Both conditions may progress rapidly and are serious diseases with high risk of complications and fatality.