Although meningococcal is understood to be a serious illness, not much else is know about it. For this reason, we take a look at what meningococcal is all about to give you a better idea of the potential harm it can cause to the unwary. In essence, meningococcal disease is the result of a bacterial infection, and depending on the circumstances involved it can cause very serious illness – make sure to read on to learn more about what makes up with a potentially deadly disease.
Meningococcal is most commonly known as a result of the meningococcal vaccine, and this is due to it being so important in the fight against meningococcal. Vaccination is by far the best way to prevent the development of meningococcal disease, and there are in fact two vaccines available. There are meningococcal ACWY, which provides protection against serogroups A, C, W and Y and meningococcal B, which protects against certain serogroup B strains of the disease. In terms of symptoms, sufferers of meningococcal usually develop an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord known as meningitis, as well as potential blood poisoning, is known as septicaemia. It is also possible for rare forms of meningococcal to cause joint infection, known as septic arthritis, pneumonia and conjunctivitis, which is an infection of the outer lining of the eye and eyelid. These symptoms can develop very rapidly in someone who contracts the disease, and it is estimated that between five and ten percent of patients die, even with treatment. Symptoms of the illness might show up as a combination of fever, headache, stiffness of the neck, joint pain, rashes, photosensitivity and nausea and vomiting. Although these symptoms can be extreme, it’s also possible for between 5 and 25 percent of carriers to not demonstrate any symptoms at all, despite still carrying the bacteria at the back of the nose and throat.
The spreading of meningococcal
Meningococcal can be spread any time of the year, although winter and spring are usually considered the peak seasons. Although meningococcal bacteria is not easily spread from individuals due to it not surviving well outside the human body if it is contracted it can have very serious implications. The spread doesn’t happen through shared items, such as food, drinks and cigarettes, as many other diseases are spread, but instead requires the prolonged sharing of secretions from the back of the nose and throat, such as deep kissing for a long period of time. Those higher at risk from contracting meningococcal disease include young people (including infants, small children, adolescents and young adults), smokers, those who may have recently experienced viral upper respiratory tract illness and people with no working spleen, in addition to those traveling to countries that have higher rates of meningococcal across the board.
Safeguarding against meningococcal
Due to the severity of symptoms and potential for serious repercussions, it is advised that people from the age of 6, and particularly toddlers and infants, receive both of the meningococcal vaccines. Even with these vaccines, though, it’s important to note that it is still possible to contract meningococcal. For this purpose, it is important that caution is always exercised around people who might have the disease.