Meningococcal disease is a veery serious disease that can lead to inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord blood poisoning, so knowing preventative measures when it comes to this disease is important. Meningococcal is caused by bacteria strains known as Neisseria meningitidis, and the rapid onset of symptoms make it especially worth your time to learn who is particularly vulnerable to meningococcal, particularly as early symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. In this article, we take a closer look at who is at risk of meningococcal and how it is spread.
The groups and demographics at risk of contracting meningococcal
Meningococcal disease has the potential to seriously affect anyone of any age, but there are certain groups of people who are generally at a much higher risk. For these people a meningococcal vaccination is particularly important. It is easier to contract meningococcal when people are younger, so it should be no surprise that groups at particularly high risk of contracting the illness consist of infants and young children under the age of two, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 2 months to 19 years and teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 19. In addition to these people, some medical conditions can increase their risk of invasive meningococcal disease and there is also potential to contract it from spending enough time with someone who has the disease and teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24 years who are exposed to tobacco smoke are also at higher risk. These are the groups that should prioritise the vaccination if they already haven’t.
How the meningococcal vaccine works
A common misconception many carry is that diseases that have a vaccine are largely eradicated. This is far from the truth, and this belief can quickly cause serious issues for those at risk of meningococcal. This is made even more complex and confusing due to the fact that there are multiple vaccines that serve to protect against different strains of the meningococcal bacteria. Vaccines are available as meningococcal B and combination vaccine for meningococcal ACWY, and only when every strain of meningococcal is protected against should people consider lowering their guard. How does one contract meningococcal, then? Circumstances will often dictate this, but it can be relatively easy to contract the disease from prolonged close contact with a sufferer. Contracting it isn’t necessarily a matter of touching objects that they have come into contact with, though – the meningococcal bacteria can only survive outside the human body for a few seconds, so casual contact should not pose a threat. Even the sharing of food or beverages should not pose too much of a concern.
Meningococcal requites immediate medical attention
Meningococcal is a disease that requires very prompt treatment – without immediate attention, there is significant potential for it to do a lot of damage in a very small amount of time. If you believe you or a family member have been exposed to meningococcal or are displaying symptoms – no matter the unlikelihood – it is always a good idea to seek out medical attention. The speed at which meningococcal acts and the damage it can do in this small amount of time should be more than enough incentive to do so.