Meningococcal Meningitis or Meningitis is a bacterial infection caused by the gram negative bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. The bacterium is found in the nasal passages of humans and is found worldwide, however most commonly transmitted in the African meningitis belt; which stretches from the savannah regions of Senegal to Ethiopia.
The symptoms of meningitis which can also be mistaken for the flu make it more difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms are a sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and an intolerance to light. The more indicative features are the stiff neck and blood spots under the skin also referred to as a non-blanching rash; as the rash remains to appear red when clear tumbler glass is rolled over the top of it.
Treatment should be commenced as soon as possible under hospital supervision. This will normally involve antibiotic treatment and intensive care.
Meningitis infection is spread through droplets from sneezing, coughing or close contact with a carrier. Those most at risk are healthcare workers, those working with local people especially in endemic areas and also those in crowded environments. Most endemics occur during the winter-spring season because the nights become colder and areas are prone to dust winds, this leads to greater transmission rates. People travelling for Hajj and Umrah are also at high risk due to the crowded conditions.
Good sneeze and cough protection hygiene are important in preventing the spread of Meningitis. Also, making sure that you are vaccinated when travelling to areas where Meningitis is endemic will help prevent spread and infection, this is why Hajj and Umrah travellers must ensure that they are vaccinated at least 10 days prior to travel.
The meningitis vaccination is recommended for all those travelling in crowded conditions or to places where meningitis is endemic. The vaccination provides cover for 5 years and is suitable for both Hajj and Umrah at £35 for a single dose vaccination. Contact the pharmacy team for further information on 02089021328.