Even if you are in the pink of health, it doesn’t mean you should lower your guard, as you could still be harbouring certain bacteria without showing visible signs of the disease. It’s possible for you to transmit the bacteria to someone else, which could potentially be fatal for them.
This is especially true of meningococcus or Neisseria meningitidis, which is responsible for the life-threatening meningococcal disease1. It is estimated that one person out of 10 carries this bacterium at some point – and they may not even know it. Very few develop the disease, but serve as a source of infection instead.
The transmission of meningococcus can occur during close, intimate and prolonged contact with a carrier in places such as your home, densely crowded and confined spaces like dormitories, and in group or community gatherings. The bacterium spreads via respiratory and oral secretions such as saliva and mucus through coughing, sneezing, kissing, and sharing cutlery.
Symptoms2 of meningococcal disease are sudden and appear in just a few days. These include intense headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, a stiff neck, disorientation, rashes and sensitivity to light. You could be suffering from either meningitis – the inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord – or septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning. Both are medical emergencies: late action could result in death within hours, or paralysis, hearing loss, brain damage and speech disorders.
At the hospital, antibiotics are prescribed to treat the disease, and are also given to patients who have been exposed to someone who’s infected. An early diagnosis is important and makes a difference.
But first, it’s best to avoid becoming a potential carrier and compromising your family’s health – make sure you all receive your vaccinations. There are two for meningococcal disease3: meningococcal conjugate vaccine and meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Ask your doctor or health-care provider for more information today.
For more details, visit www.vaccinationisprotection.com.