Meningitis is a serious bacterial disease that can have devastating effects on health and can often prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated immediately.
The convenience of Broadgate GP Clinics walk-in travel vaccines service
Although you can catch Meningitis anywhere in the world, certain countries and regions present more of a hazard than others. If you will be travelling to one of these higher risk areas (South America, you should be vaccinated before you leave. You can check out the National Health Travel Network and Centre website for country specific information. If you work in London, the Meningitis ACY W135 vaccination is one of the many travel vaccines that the walk-in travel clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall offers.
The various strains of Meningitis
There are 13 different strains of Meningitis. Group B is the most common type here in the UK. In other countries around the world, common strains include A, C, and Y, and the less common but nonetheless equally dangerous W135. The A and W135 strains periodically spark off significant epidemics mainly in what is known as the African Meningitis belt (ranging from Senegal across to Ethiopia), and in Saudi Arabia where they often cause epidemics during the Haj pilgrimages.
Travel vaccines and vaccine certifications
If you travel to Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrimage you will be required to show a certificate to prove you have been vaccinated against Meningitis before they’ll let you into the country. You can get a certificate from Broadgate Clinic London Wall for any vaccination you are give in our travel clinic.
The importance of good personal hygiene
Good personal hygiene can help. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze is not only polite but medically important in terms of not spreading infections. It’s why when going on crowded public transport, (where some people do not capture sneeze or cough emissions in their handkerchiefs), the risks of catching diseases like Meningitis are amplified.
The mortality rates of viral and bacterial Meningitis
As well as being caused by various bacteria, Meningitis can also be caused by a virus. Although very unpleasant, the viral form of Meningitis very rarely proves fatal. Bacterial Meningitis on the other hand, (and Meningococcal disease in particular), has a 7% mortality rate. Meningococcal disease is a combination of two diseases; Meningitis and Septicaemia. It is the Septicaemia rather than the Meningitis that is normally responsible for most fatalities.
Septicaemia is a form of blood poisoning, and is very dangerous. If not diagnosed and treated immediately it can spread rapidly through the human body causing severe damage to body organs. Septicaemia attacks the blood vessels, causing them to leak. This is why red blotching appearing on the skin is one of the tall-tale signs. The blood remaining in the blood vessels does not then deliver sufficient oxygen to the various body organs.
The symptoms of Meningitis
Spotting Meningitis in its early stages is crucial. Symptoms to look out for include:
- High temperature accompanied by coldness in the hands and feet
- When someone is drowsy and proves difficult to wake up
- Confusion and irritability
- Severe headache
- Acute sensitivity to any light source
- Severe muscle pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- A pale skin pallor accompanied by blotching or rash
How far in advance of your travel should you get vaccinated?
If you are planning to travel abroad to one of the countries with an elevated risk of exposure to Meningitis, you should have the Meningitis ACY W135 vaccination at least 10 days before the date you are due to travel. For busy workers in London, who don’t have the time to get to their own GP, the walk-in travel clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall provides a convenient alternative.