Meningitis Immunisation


Meningitis is caused by an infection of the thin lining of that surrounds the spinal cord and brain. There are various types of bacteria that can cause meningitis and Neisseria meningitidis is one of that can cause epidemics.

Meningococcal meningitis occurs intermittently in many locations throughout the world. The outbreaks occur seasonally with some warmer areas noting an increase during the winter and spring. Over the past decade there have been increases in outbreak frequency in countries such as New Zealand although the virus type that causes major epidemics is found more in Africa and Asia. Mongolia is the only country outside Africa that has reported a major epidemic in recent years.

In 1996, Africans fell victim to the larges outbreak in history in 1996 with over 25,000 people dying as a result of over a quarter of a million people affected. The most affected countries have been; Ethiopia, Chad, and Niger Burkina Faso.

The bacteria are transmitted from person to person and can not be caught from animals or live stock. The incubation period is for anything around 2 to 10 days with 4 days being the average. The main symptoms include raging fever confusion and headaches, sensitivity to light and vomiting.

The disease can still prove fatal even if caught in its early stages and around 5% to 10% of victims will die within the first two days of the illness. About 10% to 20% of survivors will suffer some brain damage, hearing or learning disability. The more severe form of meningitis is meningococcal septicemia which appears as a rash and rapid circulatory collapse.