This website has been developed and funded by GSK and is intended for UK members of the public.

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Young man with prosthetic legs gaming young man with prosthetic legs doing pull ups Young woman with prosthetic legs in a University or College Halls of residence bedroom looking at photos of her family

Let's tackle meningitis together

There are many types of meningitis, including bacterial, fungal and viral. This website specifically focusses on invasive meningococcal meningitis. This type of meningitis is rare but potentially deadly. Throughout this website we use the term meningitis to mean bacterial meningococcal meningitis.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges)1

In the UK these are the main types of disease-causing meningitis: B, C, W and Y.2
It can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.1

Read more about meningitis and how you can help protect yourself and your children below.

Key Facts of Meningitis

  • There are several types of disease-causing meningococcal bacteria.1
  • Meningitis B is the most common in the UK - more than 50% of cases.3
  • Invasive meningococcal disease is rare; in England the incidence is below 1 case in 100,000.4
1 in 20
1 in 20 cases of meningococcal disease result in death, with higher rates in teenagers and young adults5
1 in 3
1 in 3 children who contracted meningitis B were left with long-term health consequences1,6
1 in 5
1 in 5 meningitis survivors have permanent after effects such as skin scars, limb amputation(s), hearing loss, seizures and brain damage5

How is it spread?

Up to 1 in 4 teenagers aged 15-19 years old carry the meningococcal bacteria and could spread the disease to others, however, carriage and spreading is lower in babies and young children.5,9,10








Sharing cutlery, toothbrushes, drinks, etc.11

Help protect your family

There are many ways to help protect you and your family from bacteria that may cause meningitis. Covering your mouth when coughing and regularly washing your hands can help prevent transmission. There are also certain vaccines available for free on the NHS,1,10 however, even if you've had one meningitis vaccine, you may still be missing protection from certain types.


Know the symptoms1

Knowing the symptoms of meningitis is essential because acting fast may help to reduce the life-changing impact of this potentially deadly condition. It's also important to know how to recognise septicaemia (blood poisoning) as this can also happen alongside meningitis.

Click below to find out more about the symptoms of meningitis.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Seeking answers about meningitis? Our comprehensive FAQ section is here to help. Whether you're curious about prevention, symptoms, or treatments, we've got you covered.

Meningitis can be daunting, but understanding it shouldn't be. Dive into our FAQs to learn more about this condition and ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Do you need more information?

Talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor if you would like further information or advice about how to help protect yourself or your children from getting meningitis.


  1. NHS Meningitis website: Overview; Symptoms; Causes; Complications. Accessed April 2024.

  2. UKHSA Green Book Chapter 22: Meningococcal. 2022.

  3. UKHSA Laboratory confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal infection in England: July to September 2022/October to December 2022.

  4. UKHSA Invasive meningococcal disease in England: annual laboratory confirmed reports for epidemiological year 2021 to 2022.

  5. OVG Vaccine Knowledge website: Meningococcal disease. Accessed April 2024.

  6. Viner RM, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2012 Sep;11(9):774-83.

  7. PHE Guidance for public health management of meningococcal disease in the UK. 2019.

  8. Meningitis Research Foundation website: Are you at risk of meningitis? Accessed April 2024.

  9. Christensen H, et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2010 Dec;10(12):853-61.

  10. Meningitis Now website: Meningitis symptoms in teenagers and young people. Accessed April 2024.

  11. NHS Inform Meningitis website: Causes of meningitis. Accessed April 2024.