Meningitis is caused by a number of bacteria and virus. Meningococcal meningitis is one of the most serious bacterial diseases and can be fatal. The disease is transmitted from person to person by direct contact and respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing). Mencevax can protect you against this form of disease.
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitis, also called meningococcus.
About 10% of people have this type of bacteria in the back of their nose and throat with no signs or symptoms of disease, they are ' carriers'. of the disease following low grade infection
A common outcome of meningococcal infection is meningitis, When caused by Neisseria meningitis bacteria it is known as meningococcal meningitis.
If not diagnosed properly and appropriate immediate treatment implemented, the disease rapidly become fatal.
Neisseria meningitis bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit ,cough, Kissing and sharing the drinks. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningococcal disease has been.
Sometimes Neisseria meningitis bacteria spread to people who have had close or lengthy contact with a patient with meningococcal disease example people live in the same household, roommates, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions, meaning saliva or spit, (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of getting the infection.
Signs and symptoms
When someone has meningococcal meningitis, the protective membranes covering their brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges, become infected and swell.
The symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as
o Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light)
o Altered mental status (confusion)
The symptoms of meningococcal meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3-7 days after exposure.
In newborns and infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to notice. The infant may appear to be slow or inactive, irritable, vomiting or feeding poorly.
Taking appropriate precaution to avoid contact of body secretion from the infected person is paramount importance.
- Wash hand frequently
- Keep the fomites separately
Vaccination best chance of protection against meningococcal meningitis, more so to the Traveller's travelling to densely populated countries like India, Brazil, South East Asia and Mexico.
Central Africa and west Africa consider to be Meningococcal belt , vaccination paramount importance.
People travelling to congregation like carnival in Brazil , Kumba Mela in India And more importantly people travelling to Mecca for Hajj time, meningococcal vaccine with ACWY strain is compulsory and have to carry an appropriate documentation with them.
Traveller travelling to the above places should be aware of taking appropriate strain of meningococcal vaccine.
Meningococcal C strain is only good for Australia.
Traveller should take meningococcal ACWY strain containing vaccine