Meningitis is a highly dangerous disease which causes inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal infection, whether Bacterial or Viral, should always be treated as a medical emergency. Bacterial Meningitis can lead to Septicaemia, which can become fatal.
The Meningococcal infection, which is the primary cause of Meningitis B in the UK springs from the Neisseria Meningitidis bacteria which lives in the back of the throat and nose. Roughly 10% of people in the U.K. carry the bacteria without being aware of it.
The meningococcal infection can, and does affect people of all ages, however, roughly half of diagnosed cases are babies and children under 5 years of age.
In infants, the symptoms of Meningitis B are much harder to diagnose, since signs of rash may not become visible with the onset of the infection. Most common symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis in children and adults include:
- High fever
- Cold hands and feet
- Vomiting and/or refusal to eat
- Grunting and rapid breathing
- Drowsiness and unresponsiveness
- Pale skin with a blotchy red rash
- Bulging soft spot on the top of the head
- Stiff neck, sensitivity to light, & convulsions
Note: These symptoms may appear in any order or not at all. If your baby or small child becomes unwell with any of these, call 999 at once.
Symptoms of the bacterial infection in older children, teens & adults can include those mentioned above, as well as severe headache, confusion and irritability.
Viral Meningitis is less serious than Bacterial Meningitis, and the symptoms are usually flu-like, accompanied by headache, fever & chills. In more severe cases these might also run from neck stiffness, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and sensitivity to light. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical assistance at once.
The Vaccination for Meningitis B can be given at any time from the age of two months, and has been proven about 88% effective in preventing Meningitis B. As well, it is important to note that the ACW35Y vaccine, for protection against other strains of Meningitis, is now a requirement for Visas to certain countries.
Your vaccination should be given at least 6 weeks prior to travel, and is administered in two doses.
Please contact us to book an appointment well in advance of your planned departure, or Visa application. This vaccination is required for travel to certain countries in the Middle East, and Africa, among others, depending on the region.
Experience in tests and in vaccinations in the UK, Canada, and other countries of the Meningitis B vaccine show no side effects other than those that normally accompany other vaccinations.
These are swelling, redness and soreness at the injection site, slight fever, lack of appetite and muscle aches, as well as sleeplessness.
Depending on the state of health of the person vaccinated, the period of immunity is estimated to be roughly three years. People with compromised immune systems should not receive the vaccination.
Vaccination is your first step towards avoiding this disease, but there are other things you can do to stay safe, simply by avoiding contact with anyone who might have the disease, by not sharing utensils, cigarettes and other objects that might come in contact with an infected person.
The infection is transmitted through sneezing, coughing, kissing , drinking from the same glass, for example. Keep your child safe by teaching them that sharing can transmit disease.
Our London Travel Clinics
All 3 of our centrally located travel clinics are convenient for people living and working in London. Liverpool Street, London Bridge and High St Kensington. We are open early morning, lunchtime, evening and weekends and provide all of the vaccinations and medications that you need.