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Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitis. There are 13 groups of bacteria that cause Meningococcal disease, the predominate ones in Australia being serotype B and C. Both of these now have a vaccine available. Serotypes A, C, Y and W135 are usually found overseas,  in places such as the middle east and Africa.



If infected the main disease states are either an inflammation of the brain (meningitis) or an infection of the blood (septicaemia) with its associated characteristic rash. 5-10% of invasive meningococcal infections cause death, and urgent treatment with antibiotics is required if meningococcal is suspected. 



  • Fever

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Red or purple rash

  • Bruises

  • Neck stiffness

  • Photophobia (discomfort looking at bright lights)

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sore muscles

  • Drowsiness

  • Painful joints

  • Difficulty walking

  • Confusion




Vaccines are available for Meningococcal serotypes B, C, and a combined A, C, Y and W135 for high risk individuals such as travellers. People undertaking the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia require a certificate of vaccination for the A, C, Y and W135 vaccine.  

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