What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease involves bacteria that can lead to purulent inflammation of the cerebral membrane (meningococcal meningitis) and blood poisoning (sepsis). The disease is characterised by sudden high fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headache and stiffness of the neck. Impaired consciousness and blood spots under the skin are alarm signs. In the most severe cases, the disease can lead to death within just a few hours. The disease is fatal for 1 in 10 persons who have contracted it.
Meningococcal disease is treated with antibiotics and intensive medication. Treatment must be started as soon as possible.
The disease is transmitted by infected persons as well as healthy bacteria carriers via droplet infection, primarily by speaking, coughing, sneezing or kissing. After infection, it takes 2 to 10 days for the symptoms to appear. Different types of meningococcal bacteria (called “strains”) occur throughout the world. The disease is more prevalent in some countries. Close physical contact of many persons in cramped spaces favours contagion. For persons entering Saudi Arabia during the Hajj period, the country stipulates compulsory vaccination with a conjugate quadrivalent vaccine against meningococcal disease, which must also be documented in the international Certificate of Vaccination.
Vaccination advice for children, young people and adults
There are different vaccines that combat various strains of meningococcal bacteria; vaccines against meningococcal strains A, C, W135, Y and B are available.
The vaccination schedule depends on the vaccine used and the age of the person that is vaccinated. Depending on the vaccine, the level of protection against the respective meningococcal strain is 75% to 100%. Protection can last from 3 years to the whole life and depends on the type of vaccination administered.
Vaccination against meningococcal strains B and C is possible even for babies. Vaccination with the combined vaccine against meningococcal strains A, C, W 135 and Y is possible from the 1st birthday. For children between their 10th and 13th birthday, vaccination with this vaccine is free of charge.
In all other cases, vaccination against meningococcal disease must be paid for by you.
Please consult your doctor to clarify which vaccination schedule is the right one for you.
Information and consultancy
You have never been vaccinated against meningococcal disease? You are unsure whether or not you are protected? Do you have trouble finding your Certificate of Vaccination?