Make no mistake, this is a serious condition. It has a high risk of causing death. If this has caused you a bit of anxiety, you’re in good company, as it scares me as well. Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection, and we naturally carry this bug with us. There are many strains, with vaccines available against A, B, C, W and Y. As you may have recently read in the papers, strain W is on the rise and has cause a few mortalities recently. Even if a person survives, there will be ongoing morbidities, such as kidney damage.
The government does provide a free vaccine for children as part of the National Immunisation Schedule against the ACWY strains. Some strains are not covered and have to be paid for privately.
A few things to note about meningococcal disease is that it’s fast! The bacteria enter the body and irritate the meninges (protective lining of the brain) and can cause whats knows as septicaemia, eventually causing purple skin spots/discolouration. The signs to watch out for include fever, headaches, neck stiffness, irritability, nausea and vomiting.
I hope this article encourages you to vaccinate against this disease, and please spread the word.