Meningococcal meningitis is a disease present in most parts of the world, and is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, which can invade the bloodstream and cause inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The disease is spread via saliva and secretions from the nose and throat, and by prolonged and close contact with infected individuals, though it is not spread as easily as the common cold. Most people infected with the Meningococcal meningitis bacteria are simply carriers without symptoms, although they can transmit the disease. Some people may experience symptoms of of high fever, headache, vomiting, chills and stiff neck. If untreated, Meningococcal meningitis has a high fatality rate.
A vaccine for Meningococcal meningitis is required for travel to Saudi Arabia during Hajj and recommended for anyone travelling to regions with high incidences of Meningococcal meningitis, such as the sub-Saharan Africa Meningitis Belt.
World Health Organization
Meningococcal meningitis, countries or areas at high risk, 2014
- Meningococcal meningitis Vaccine Product Monograph (PDF Download)
- Government of Canada Resource on Meningococcal meningitis
- World Health Organization Map of countries where Meningococcal meningitis is prevalent