ABOUT THE DISEASE
Neisseria meningitidis, more commonly known as meningococcus, is bacterium that causes meningococcal infection. There are 13 identified serogroups of meningococcus and 6 out of them commonly cause infection worldwide(1) – A, B, C, W-135, X and Y. The bacteria spread via droplets from respiratory secretions of the infected persons. They cause invasive infection to bloodstream and membrane of the brain and spinal cord – meninges, and that result in meningococcal septicaemia and meningitis respectively.
Incubation period of meningococcal infection is about half to one week. Adults who have been infected may present with a variety of symptoms of septicaemia and/or meningitis accordingly. These may include fever, fatigue, headache, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, chills, rapid breathing, stiff neck, muscle and joint ache. In severe cases, people will have dark purple skin rash, photophobia, change in mental status or even shock. However, in babies suffering from meningitis, these respective symptoms may not present. Rather, they may become irritable but with slow or inactive reaction.
Prompt medical consultation and treatments including antibiotics are essential. Irreversible complications like disabilities with limb amputation, hearing loss, brain damage or even death can be resulted.
ABOUT THE VACCINATION
In Hong Kong, tetravalent vaccine is available for protection against A, C, W-135 and Y serotypes of meningococcal infection. 1-2 doses of injection are required according to age. Side effects of the vaccine are usually mild, including pain, redness and swelling of the injection site, irritability, loss of appetite, headache, fatigue and fever. For severe discomfort, please seek for medical consultation as soon as possible.
For further enquiries or bookings for vaccination, please contact us (+852) 2779 8388.
- Harrison, Lee H. (2010). Epidemiological Profile of Meningococcal Disease in the United States. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 50 (Suppl 2): S37-S44.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov
- Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong – http://www.chp.gov.hk/