Meningococcal diseases occur worldwide. In Europe and North America there is an accumulation in winter and spring. A disease can occur at any age. The disease peaks are found in infancy and childhood and adolescence.
In about 5 to 10% of the population, meningococcus can be detected in the nasopharyngeal space. For still unknown reasons, only a small proportion of these germ carriers develop disease symptoms. The transmission takes place through droplet infection and usually requires close contact with the germ carrier. Meningococcal diseases usually represent serious clinical pictures, whereby certain forms of development can lead to death within hours.
For this reason, a doctor must be consulted already in case of early symptoms (fever, chills, headache), so that the start of treatment is not delayed.
Due to their structures, one can distinguish different meningococci (serogroups), which are responsible for different diseases in various regions. Vaccines are only available against some of these serogroups. Both must be taken into account, when recommending vaccinations.
Vaccination: Conjugated vaccine against meningococcus serogroup C with long-term vaccination protection (also suitable for children under 2 years), polysaccharide vaccines with shorter vaccination protection are also available against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W135 and Y.
Who should vaccinate?
- All children from the age of 2 are recommended for meningococcal serogroup C, and follow-up of older children and adolescents up to the age of 18 is recommended.
- persons with immune deficiency,
- endangered laboratory personnel,
- Travelers who travel to countries with an increased incidence of meningitis and with expected close contact to the local population (here vaccination against serogroups A, C, W-135 and Y may be recommended). Before the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hadj)
- pupils and students before long-term stays in countries with recommended general vaccination,
- Vulnerable groups of people with frequent illnesses. For close contacts of patients with meningococcal disease, treatment with antibiotics is required as soon as possible to prevent the disease.
Common Vaccination Reactions:
In rare cases, redness, swelling, and mild pain may occur at the injection site as well as fatigue and mild fever.