Meningitis Vaccine for Travel

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Meningitis Vaccines


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.

Contact our Clinics View All Vaccine Prices

Vaccination Pricing

£55 Per dose

£55 Per Course

Signs & Symptoms

Invasive meningococcal disease usually presents as meningitis or septicaemia.

Symptoms of meningitis include:

  • Meningitis or septicaemia
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Intense headache
  • Symptoms of septicaemia include: fever, chills, confusion and a rash
  • High risk of complications and fatality

Symptoms of septicaemia include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Confusion and a rash

Both conditions may progress rapidly and are serious diseases with high risk of complications and fatality.

The Vaccination

Ages (Years) Doses Required Schedule Time before travel Boost required at
2 – 85 1 10 days See specialist pharmacist

How do you catch Meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by various infectious agents, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. The mode of transmission depends on the specific cause of meningitis:

  1. Bacterial Meningitis:
    • Respiratory droplets: Bacterial meningitis is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the bacteria can be released into the air. Close contact with respiratory secretions of an infected person, such as being in the same household or sharing utensils, can lead to transmission.
  1. Viral Meningitis:
    • Respiratory secretions: Viral meningitis is primarily transmitted through respiratory secretions, similar to how the common cold or flu spreads. Close contact with an infected person, particularly exposure to respiratory droplets, can result in transmission.
  1. Fungal Meningitis:
    • Environmental exposure: Fungal meningitis is often caused by fungi present in the environment. The spores of these fungi can enter the body through inhalation or direct contact with contaminated materials, such as soil or bird droppings.

It's important to note that not all individuals who are exposed to the infectious agents will develop meningitis. Some people may carry the bacteria or viruses in their body without experiencing symptoms or developing the disease.

Certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of contracting meningitis, such as living in close quarters (dormitories, military barracks), having a weakened immune system, attending crowded events, or having recent contact with an infected person.

Maintaining good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick, can help reduce the risk of meningitis transmission. Vaccination is available for certain types of bacterial meningitis, such as meningococcal meningitis and pneumococcal meningitis, which can provide protection against those specific strains.

Who is at risk from Meningitis?

Meningitis can affect individuals of all ages, but certain groups may be at a higher risk of developing the disease or experiencing severe complications. Here are the populations that are generally considered to be at increased risk:

  1. Infants and young children: Infants younger than 1 year old have the highest risk of bacterial meningitis, particularly caused by group B Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes. The risk gradually decreases as children grow older.
  2. Adolescents and young adults: Adolescents and young adults, especially those living in close quarters such as college dormitories or military barracks, are more susceptible to meningococcal meningitis, which is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacterium.
  3. Older adults: Older adults, especially those over the age of 60, are more prone to bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal meningitis). They may also be at higher risk of developing severe complications and have a higher mortality rate.
  4. Immunocompromised individuals: People with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, organ transplantation, or certain medical treatments (e.g., chemotherapy) have an increased vulnerability to meningitis caused by various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
  5. Close contacts of infected individuals: People who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, especially within households, may be at a slightly higher risk due to potential exposure to the infectious agent.

It is important to note that while anyone can potentially contract meningitis, the risk factors mentioned above can increase susceptibility. Vaccination is available for certain types of bacterial meningitis, such as meningococcal and pneumococcal meningitis, and is recommended for individuals in high-risk groups to provide protection against these specific pathogens. Prompt medical attention is crucial if symptoms of meningitis develop, as early diagnosis and treatment are essential to improve outcomes.

Symptoms of Meningitis

The symptoms of meningitis can vary depending on the cause (bacterial, viral, fungal, or other) and the age of the affected individual. Meningitis is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Here are common symptoms associated with meningitis:

  1. Sudden high fever
  2. Severe headache
  3. Stiff neck, making it difficult to touch the chin to the chest
  4. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Confusion or altered mental status
  7. Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  8. Seizures
  9. Irritability or fussiness, especially in infants and young children
  10. Skin rash (in some cases, such as meningococcal meningitis)
  11. Muscle aches or joint pain
  12. Loss of appetite

In infants, meningitis symptoms can be more subtle and may include:

  • High-pitched cry
  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Bulging fontanelles (soft spots on the baby's skull)

It's important to note that not all individuals will experience all of these symptoms, and some symptoms may overlap with other illnesses. If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms suggestive of meningitis, especially with a sudden onset and rapidly worsening condition, seek immediate medical attention as prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial for a positive outcome.

What are the Meningitis Risk Areas?

Meningitis Risk Areas

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