meningococcal meningitis - MASTA Travel Health | For All Your Vaccination advice

Meningococcal meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is an infection caused by a bacteria or virus, which affects the brain and spinal cord. There are different forms of meningitis - A, C, W, Y and B are the most common. Left untreated it has a very high fatality rate.
  • Symptoms Sudden fever, intense headache, nausea, stiff neck, dislike of bright light. A non-blanching rash appears as the infection worsens.
  • How do you catch meningococcal meningitis? Meningitis is spread by coughs, sneezes or contact with someone who has the infection. It usually occurs in epidemics and can affect any age group. It can spread quickly in large crowds or in communal living areas.
  • Incubation period 2 – 10 days
  • Diagnosis Diagnosis is confirmed through testing blood or spinal fluid.


Avoiding crowded places and close contact with local people where possible can reduce the risk of catching meningitis. The meningitis ACWY vaccination can be offered to people travelling to high risk areas and is given to certain age groups in the UK as part of the routine schedule. Meningitis B vaccine is also part of the UK childhood schedule (and available privately through MASTA).


Meningitis infection caused by a bacteria needs to be treated with antibiotics urgently. Hospital care is needed. Without early treatment meningitis can be fatal within hours.

Vaccination options

The Men ACWY vaccine can be offered at MASTA for those at heightened risk and for travellers.

Level of protection: ~ 75-96%

Protection duration: 5 years

How is it given: Single injection.

Ideally start: 10-14 days before travel.

£60.00 Pricing shown is per dose

  • Some countries require proof of meningitis ACWY vaccination e.g Saudi Arabia, who require this from pilgrims travelling to the Hajj. A certificate is issued for these travellers.
  • There is a “belt” of countries in Africa where there is a high risk of meningitis.
  • Antibiotics may be offered to people who have been in contact with anyone suffering from certain types of meningitis.
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