Meningitis (Meningococcal Meningitis) is a serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes swelling of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and blood poisoning. Permanent disability and death can result, particularly if blood poisoning occurs.
Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium called the meningococcus. There are five main groups that commonly cause disease – A, B, C, W135 and Y. Group B causes the majority of disease in the UK. Around 10% of the population carry the meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats at any given time. This is healthy carriage, and should help develop immunity.
The disease is transmitted by sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions
Symptoms of meningitis usually include one or more of the following;
- Sudden onset of fever
- Intense headache
- Photophobia (intolerance of light)
- Stiff neck
- Petechial rash (blood spots under the skin)
If one or more of the symptoms above occur, medical attention must be sought immediately
Babies, children and adolescents are particularly at risk. Symptoms may be hard to identify in babies and young children, who may exhibit the following signs: refusing feeds, unusual crying or moaning, irritability, listlessness, unresponsiveness, jerky movements or becoming stiff or floppy and very rapid breathing
Meningitis is a medical emergency requiring urgent hospital treatment, as blood poisoning can develop rapidly. Antibiotic treatment is usually started as soon as meningococcal disease is suspected. It may also be necessary to give antibiotic treatment to close contacts of patients confirmed as having meningitis.
Recommendations for Travellers
Respiratory infections are often difficult to prevent but following basic personal hygiene when coughing and sneezing can help. Avoiding overcrowded areas such as busy markets and local transport may also reduce risk of exposure but may not always be practical.
Vaccines to protect against multiple strains of meningococcal meningitis for travellers are available.
Individuals should consider being vaccinated if they are travelling to a country where meningococcal meningitis is present and where their stay maybe prolonged or they are involved in activities which may increase the risk of exposure to the disease, for example, working in a healthcare setting and living closely with the local population.
Pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj are required to have a valid certificate of vaccination against the disease for visa purposes.
For more information please visit fit for travel.
We provide vaccinations by appointment at our clinics in Farnborough in Hampshire and Woking in Surrey. If inconvenient, please contact us to take advantage of our Mobile Clinic service.
Meningococcal Meningitis A, C, W-135 & Y
Single dose course
Price per dose: £70.00
Meningococcal Meningitis B
There are multiple dose schedules for this vaccine please contact us for more information
Price per dose: £150.00
To make an appointment please click here