What is meningitis?
Meningitis is a serious infection that affects the protective layer around the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. One of dangerous forms of meningitis is meningococcal meningitis that can also cause bloodstream infection (sepsis).
Is Meningococcal a serious disease?
Meningococcal disease is very serious and may rapidly progress to death, often within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate treatment is started, approximately 1 in 10 who contract the disease may not survive.
Up to 1 in 5 meningitis survivors may experience lifelong complications such as hearing loss, brain damage, mental disabilities or loss of limbs.
How is meningococcal disease spread?
The bacteria that causes meningococcal disease lives in the nose and throat and is spread from one person to another by close contact. They can be spread through everyday behaviors, including
- Coughing & sneezing
- Sharing food and drink
- Living in close quarters
Who is at risk?
The meningococcal disease can infect anyone of any age but children under 5 years of age, immunocompromised individuals, adolescents and young adults are at higher risk.
What are the symptoms of meningococcal disease?
Early symptoms can be hard to notice because they begin mildly – similar to those of a cold or
the flu. However, symptoms can progress quickly and may include:
- High Fever or cold chills
- Cold hands and feet
- Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest or belly
- A dark purple rash
- Sensitivity to light
- Neck stiffness
It can be even harder to notice these symptoms in babies and they may not appear at all. Instead, a baby may become slow or inactive, be irritable or vomit.
How can I help protect my child from this disease?
While practicing good hygiene can help to protect against the spread of germs, vaccination
is an effective way to help prevent meningococcal disease. Make an informed decision when it comes to meningococcal disease. Consult your Pediatrician about your child’s options for meningococcal vaccination.
What should I know about meningococcal Vaccine?
There are different types of vaccines for different types of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine, available in India, helps protect against four major types of meningococcal disease. If your child has not been vaccinated previously, it’s not too late. Consult your doctor for information on age and dosing of Meningococcal Vaccination.
Following vaccination, local site reactions like pain & redness may be observed as with other routine vaccines.
A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your Pediatrician for more information, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition.
1. World Health Organization (WHO), 2018. Meningococcal meningitis. Factsheet.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017. Meningococcal Disease. Signs and Symptoms
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017. Meningococcal Disease. Causes and Spread
4. ECDC;2016. Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases.
5. Thompson MJ; Lancet;2006;367;397-403.
6. Rosenstein NE, et al. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:1378-88.
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2018. Meningococcal Disease. Prevention