What is Meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is a rare illness with sudden onset, that is potentially life threatening. It is an infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. It can kill within 24 hours. Most children survives without serious effects. However, up to 1 in 5 survivors suffer after effects including long-term disabilities such as brain damage, deafness and limb loss.
Up to one in ten of those infected with meningococcal disease may die, and around one in five will suffer from serious long- term
Who are most vulnerable?
Infants in whom protective antibodies have not yet developed are at the highest risk of contracting meningococcal disease.
Another vulnerable are the adolescent and young adults. They are at risk due to social factors such as living in close quarters.
Worldwide there are six types of Neisseria meningitidis (bacteria) that cause majority of cases of meningococcal disease.
The three most common types of meningococcal disease in Australia are B, W and Y with B accounting for 87% of meningococcal disease in children over 4 years old.
Meningococcal C was the second most common strain in Australia in early 2000s. The inclusion of vaccine against C strain successfully reduced cases. Strain B, W and Y that are not currently included as part of the routine childhood vaccinations.
In addition, travellers going to sub- saharan Africa including Kenya and Tanzania have a higher risk. People heading to Saudi Arabia required documented immunisation ACWY vaccine of all visitors aged 2 years arriving for the annual Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages or seasonal work.
The vaccine is required to have been:
-given less than 3 years OR
-not more 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia
How do you get Meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is spread by respiratory secretions (coughing or sneezing). The bacteria do not survive more than a few seconds in the environment.
It is most likely that the disease is spread to very close contacts. This includes such as people who live in the same household, sexual contacts and children attending the same day care for more than four continuous hours.
What vaccine used?
Combination vaccines against Meningococcal strains A C W Y are available on site East Perth Medical Centre.
There is also a vaccination for the Meningococcal strain B. Please phone us first to organise a vaccine order.
You or your child will need 1 to 3 doses depending on the age and further doses recommended for those with increased risk of disease while travelling.
For any queries, please call us 9221 4242
F0r more information- feel free to browse through booklet from KnowMeningococcal or visit their website
15- 19 years old patients are eligible to receive a FREE meningocococcal vaccine!