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In this instance we are outlining the serogroups of Meningitis covered by the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. The vaccine we routinely use is Nimenrix. Meningitis B is covered in our childhood vaccine section.
Meningococcal meningitis is an acute bacterial disease that can cause systemic infection. There are 13 different serogroups of meningitis of which groups B and C are most common in the UK. Serogroup A and the less common W135 can cause serious epidemics which occur predominantly in the African meningitis belt from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. These serotypes have also been responsible for outbreaks in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimages.
The disease is transmitted by sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions. The bacteria are found in the nasal passages of healthy individuals. Around 25% of adolescents and 5-11% of adults carry the bacteria.
Symptoms of meningitis usually include one or more of the following, Sudden onset of fever, Intense headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Photophobia (intolerance of light), Stiff neck, Petechial rash (blood spots under the skin)
If one or more of the symptoms above occur, medical attention must be sought immediately.
Vaccines to protect against multiple strains of meningococcal meningitis for travellers are available: Menveo and Nimenrix. Individuals should consider being vaccinated if they are travelling to a country where meningococcal meningitis is present and where their stay maybe prolonged or they are involved in activities which may increase the risk of exposure to the disease, for example, working in a healthcare setting and living closely with the local population. Pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj are required to have a valid certificate of vaccination against the disease for visa purposes.