Travel Vaccines

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Meningococcal Meningitis

Facts

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.


The extended meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa stretches from Senegal in the West to Ethiopia in the east.


Group A meningococcus accounts for the majority of cases of meningococcal meningitis in the meningitis belt.

Respiratory

Person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from someone infected with N. meningitidis, or their possessions.
Close and prolonged contact such as:
 
Kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone.
 
Living in close quarters, such as a dormitory, or sharing eating/drinking utensils with an infected person.


It is believed that 10-20% of the population carry the bacteria in their throat at any given time.


Symptoms: Stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches, vomiting


Severe case: Brain damage, blood poisoning, hearing loss, rash, amputation, a learning disability in 10-20% of survivors, death.


 Precautions against meningococcal meningitis, including good hygiene measures, safe eating and drinking habits and vaccination, should be considered.
-Regular and thorough hand hygiene.
-Minimize contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
-Avoid sharing personal items such as eating/drinking utensils and toothbrushes.

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