Meningitis strikes quickly and often leaves people with life-long effects, like hearing loss and amputations.
For some, it’s deadly. No one thing can prevent meningitis but the better you understand the risks, the better you will be able to help protect your family.
Anyone can be affected by this potentially deadly disease but there are two groups that are at higher risk:
...are babies, toddlers and children at higher risk?
Their immune system (which helps them fight infection) is less developed than older age groups
BABIES UNDER 3
MONTHS ARE 70X MORE
LIKELY TO GET
...are teenagers and young adults at risk?
They are more likely to have meningococcal bacteria living in the back of their nose and throat. This can then be spread through close contact with other teens and young adults with no natural immunity
1 IN 4 TEENAGERS
AGED 15–19 YEAR OLDS
Meningitis means inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord.
There are many different causes of meningitis in the UK. The most common causes of meningitis are bacteria and viruses.
Many different bacteria can cause meningitis
No single vaccine protects against all causes of bacterial meningitis
Meningococcal bacteria are the most common cause of meningitis in the UK
Needs urgent treatment as it can be deadly and life-changing
Can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning)
Main disease-causing groups of meningococcal bacteria:
A, B, C, W, Y
1 IN 20 CASES OF MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS RESULT IN DEATH, WITH HIGHER
RATES IN TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS
Many different viruses can cause meningitis
There is no specific vaccine but some routine vaccinations can help prevent viral meningitis
Need to seek help urgently because symptoms are similar to bacterial meningitis
Effects can be life-changing rather than life-threatening with a slow recovery
More common than bacterial meningitis
Doesn’t normally spread from one person to another
ABOUT 6,000 PEOPLE GET VIRAL MENINGITIS EACH YEAR IN THE UK