Meningococcal disease is a disease caused by several strains of bacteria known as Neisseria meningitidis. Symptoms of the disease can develop very quickly, and it has potential to be fatal. With this in mind, catching meningococcal disease early can be a crucial step in precenting an unnecessary fatality. This can be made more difficult sometimes due to the early symptoms of meningococcal disease often being similar to other illnesses, which can result in people dismissing the potential of meningococcal. There are a few more things you should know about meningococcal – in this article, we take a look at how the disease is spread and what you can do to prevent it from being spread.
How meningococcal spreads
Although a meningococcal vaccination has proven to be the best way by far to prevent the spread of meningococcal, the disease is still not eradicated. This means that those not vaccinated are at serious risk of contracting the disease if exposed to it. Depending on the circumstances, it can be easy to contract meningococcal – prolonged close contact with someone with the disease (such as living with someone) is how most will develop the disease. You shouldn’t worry about picking up the disease from foreign objects, though – the bacteria can only live outside of the body for several seconds, so you shouldn’t worry too much about casual contact with people or from touching the environment, and it is also the case that the bacteria is not spread easily by sharing food or beverages. While vaccination is the best way to entirely prevent meningococcal, it’s a good idea to know that different vaccines are needed to protect against the different types of meningococcal disease, as there are several types of meningococcal bacteria. Vaccines are often available as meningococcal B and combination vaccine for meningococcal ACWY.
Who is at risk of contracting meningococcal?
Although meningococcal disease can affect anyone regardless of age, there are several groups who are at higher risk of being infected. These include infants and young children under the age of two, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 2 months to 19 years, teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 19, people with medical conditions that might increase their risk of invasive meningococcal disease, people in constant close proximity (such as in living situations) with patients who have meningococcal disease, teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 24 years who are exposed to tobacco smoke and people travelling to countries with high rates of meningococcal disease. If you or anyone you know relate to these circumstances, it’s very important that you immediately speak to a general practitioner or vaccination provider for further advice. Medical professionals can diagnose meningococcal disease by following up regarding specific symptoms or taking a blood, spinal or joint fluid sample for testing.
Seek medical help as quickly as possible
Meningococcal can spread quickly and do considerable damage in a small space of time if it goes untreated. if you believe you or one of your family members has meningococcal disease, it’s extremely important that you seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Meningococcal is a fast-acting disease, so if you think you might not get to the emergency department of a hospital quickly enough, it might be a good idea to call an ambulance.