Meningococcal Bacteria is the common cause of bacterial meningitis and can affect the body in different ways, often causing both septicemias in addition to meningitis; this is known as meningococcal disease.
Bacterial meningitis disease is divided into groups ACWY and B, and can be very dangerous, sometimes fatal. We are all at risk of contracting the disease if we do not have the vaccination. Children under 5 years old are most at risk, followed by teenagers and young adults, and the over 55s are also at an increased risk.
Recent media reports have highlighted the tragic deaths of several university students who did not receive a Meningitis ACWY vaccination through their GP. Vaccines to protect against the disease are routinely available in the infant stages through to early years.
The NHS also offers a catch-up program of a single dose of meningitis ACWY to all teenagers around the age of 14 and university entrants up to 25 years old, who have not been vaccinated to provide them with excellent protection against this deadly condition.
As a practice we identify these young adults and write to them directly, inviting them in for the vaccination. Unfortunately, take up can be low, we do understand that this age group may not necessarily prioritise vaccinations or understand the benefits.
We, therefore, encourage all parents of teenage children and university-aged children to check that their child has received meningitis ACWY and if they haven’t encourage them to do so.
Meningitis is a deadly condition that is readily preventable by vaccination. You can book an appointment with the practice nurse online or via reception