Epidemic meningitis vaccine
Meningococci are bacteria that can cause meningitis with a rapid onset and course. If a person falls ill, it is urgent to seek medical attention and ensure that the person receives antibiotics. Infection occurs via airborne droplet infection, e.g. during coughing and sneezing, but also in close contact with other people. Children, adolescents and young adults often fall ill. Carrier-ship can occur in as many as 10% of the population without them being ill for that reason. Those who fall ill have often recently had their first contact with the bacterium and are not chronic carriers.
Typical symptoms of meningitis are:
- Characteristic rash in the form of small bleeds under the skin, so-called petechiae.
- Severe headache
- Neck stiffness
- Consciousness lowering
There are three different variants of preventive vaccine against meningococci in Sweden. A vaccine that protects against subgroups A, C, W (135) and Y is most commonly given when traveling abroad. There is also a vaccine against group B meningococcus.
Epidemic meningitis is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, often referred to as the “meningitis belt”, but the disease occurs worldwide. Different subgroups of meningococci dominate in different countries. In Sweden, group B and C mostly occur. Around the “meningitis belt” in Africa, group A has dominated.
Who should get vaccinated?
Vaccination is recommended for children and young adults who are going to study abroad or work as an au-pair, or go on a long journey under simpler conditions where, for example, you sleep together in dormitories. Vaccination can also be recommended if you are staying for a longer period of time in countries where authorities recommend your own population to be vaccinated, e.g. Greece, Czech Republic, Australia, USA, Spain, Canada and Great Britain / Ireland.
Vaccination against meningococci group A, C, W, Y is mandatory for pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.