Give us a call or visit us to find out more. Vaccinations are subject to availability.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can become very serious. Meningitis is often associated with septicaemia, otherwise known as blood poisoning, which can also be an extremely serious condition.
The disease spreads through the air by coughing sneezing or with direct contact of the respiratory secretions of an infected person.
The disease can be fatal but most people do recover from it, although some people are left deaf or blind. One of the biggest concerns with Meningitis is that it can develop very quickly, a person can seem perfectly well and then just a few hours later, be extremely ill with the disease. Another problem is that the symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from other, less serious infections.
Meningitis is normally caused by either a viral or bacterial infection and less commonly a fungal infection. Of the three main causes of the disease, bacterial infections are the most serious and may result in death, therefore it is important for venerable individuals to take appropriate precautions and to be protected against the disease with a program of vaccinations.
Prevention for travellers
Infections are often difficult to prevent but following basic personal hygiene etiquette when coughing and sneezing can help. Avoiding overcrowded areas such as busy markets and local transport may also reduce risk of exposure but may not always be practical.
Vaccines to protect against multiple strains of meningococcal meningitis (the more serious bacterial infection) for travellers visiting high risk areas are available. Individuals should consider being vaccinated if they are travelling to a country where meningococcal meningitis is present and where their stay maybe prolonged or they are involved in activities which may increase the risk of exposure to the disease, for example, working in a healthcare setting and living closely with the local population.
Meningococcal meningitis, is found all over the world including Europe and the UK. However, the highest risk is in Africa, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (countries below the Sahara Desert) and therefore vaccination is required for these areas. For Visa purposes, vaccination is a requirement for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah travelling to Saudi Arabia.
Hajj and Umrah
Muslims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj are required to have a compulsory certificate of vaccination against the disease to be granted entry into the country.
Large epidemics of the meningococcal meningitis disease have been linked to the Hajj pilgrimage, cases of the disease have occurred world-wide after pilgrims returned to their own countries.
Because of these epidemics, a ‘Quadrivalent ACWY’ vaccination (a vaccination covering four strains of the meningococcal meningitis disease) has been a compulsory entry requirement into Saudi Arabia for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah. The vaccinations must have been carried out not more than 3 years and no less than 10 days prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.
Countries at risk
The bacterial meningitis, meningococcal meningitis, is found all over the world including Europe and the UK. However, the highest risk is in Africa, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (countries below the Sahara Desert).
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of the disease include cold hands and feet, fever, headaches, abnormal skin colour, leg pains, aching muscles/joints, stomach pain, purple/red rashes (which do not disappear if pressed with a glass tumbler)
In adults, the most common symptom of Meningitis is a severe headache, occurring in almost 90% of cases of bacterial Meningitis (see below), followed by nuchal rigidity (the inability to flex the neck forward passively due to increased neck muscle tone and stiffness). The classic triad of diagnostic signs consists of nuchal rigidity, sudden high fever, and an altered mental state. However, all three features are present in only 44–46% of bacterial Meningitis cases. If none of the three signs are present, bacterial Meningitis is extremely unlikely.
Other signs commonly associated with Meningitis include photophobia (intolerance to bright light) and phonophobia (intolerance to loud noises). Small children often do not exhibit these symptoms, and may only be irritable and look unwell.
Global Travel Clinic is run by pharmacists qualified, and extensively trained to provide vaccination against the meningitis infection. We will advise on the best course of action to keep you safe while travelling.
Call us to today and we will be more than happy to advise if you require a vaccination against meningitis.