meningitis hero

A story by numbers - Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease, commonly called meningitis, is a sudden, potentially life-threatening illness. Anyone can develop the disease, but babies, children and young people (particularly those who live in close contact with others i.e. in student halls/accommodation, as this helps to pass on the infection) are most at risk.

About meningococcal disease:

  • Meningococcal disease is a sudden, potentially life-threatening illness that can lead to death within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms1
  • It may be transmitted from person-to-person by sneezing or coughing 1
  • Babies, children and young adults are particularly susceptible to meningococcal disease; babies in particular are at the greatest risk 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Initial symptoms may vary and can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment 6
  • Within the first 4–8 hours of onset, infants and children may appear drowsy, have a decreased appetite, develop fever, nausea, vomiting, leg pain and become irritable 6
  • Up to 1 out of 5 survivors may suffer lifelong disability 1,2
  • Six serogroups of meningococcal bacteria (A, B, C, W-135, X and Y) cause most cases of disease around the world 7, 8
  • It is impossible to know who will be affected so vaccination is an effective way to help prevent meningococcal disease 9
  • Vaccines are available to immunise against five serogroups of meningococcal disease: A, B, C, W-135, and Y 10
meningitis story by numbers

A story by numbers infographic

See our infographic for more on how the numbers behind meningococcal disease add up.

References

1. WHO. Meningococcal meningitis. Fact sheet N°141. Updated November 2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs141/en/. Accessed April 2017.

2. Rosenstein NE, et al. (2001). Meningococcal disease. N Engl J Med, 344, pp.1378-88.

3. Jafri RZ, et al. (2013). Global epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease. Population Health Metrics; 11: 17. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848799/. Accessed April 2017.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013). Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease; Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR); 62(2), pp.1-13. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6202.pdf. Accessed April 20175. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). (2014). Annual Epidemiological Report—Vaccine-preventable diseases—invasive bacterial diseases 2014. Available at: http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/AER-VPDIBD-2014.pdf. Accessed February 2016

5. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). (2014). Annual Epidemiological Report—Vaccine-preventable diseases—invasive bacterial diseases 2014. Available at: http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/AER-VPDIBD-2014.pdf. Accessed February 2016

6. Thomson MJ, et al. (2006). Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet; 367, pp.397–403.

7. World Health Organization (WHO). (2011). Meningococcal vaccines position paper. Weekly Epidemiological Record No. 47 (86), pp.521-540. Available at: http://www.who.int/wer/2011/wer8647.pdf. Accessed April 2017.

8. Hedari C, Khinkarly R and Dbaibo G. (2014). Meningococcal serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine: a new conjugate vaccine against invasive meningococcal disease. IDR, p.85.

9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial Meningitis. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html. Accessed: April 2017

10. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). (2014). Annual Epidemiological Report—Vaccine-preventable diseases—invasive bacterial diseases 2014. Available at: http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/AER-VPDIBD-2014.pdf. Accessed February 2016.