Easily mistaken for the flu in its early stages, meningitis is a serious and dangerous disease that could quickly get much worse and become life-threatening. It is caused by an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes (called meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is serious and can cause death within days without prompt antibiotic treatment. Delayed treatment also increases the risk of permanent brain damage.
We are calling out everyone aged 13 to 25 years who are:
- Entering their first year of Uni or within the next 3 months are going to live in shared dorms and accommodation, school hostel, tertiary education halls of residence, military barrack, and corrections facility to catch up with their meningococcal ACWY vaccine over the holidays.
The vaccine is FREE to everyone who fits the criteria!
Meningitis is caused by Meningococcal disease, a germ that attacks the meninges and causes a type of bacterial meningitis. Sometimes, when it doesn’t infect the meninges, it could stay in the bloodstream and cause a severe systemic infection called meningococcemia, which can lead to sepsis, shock and even death. Meningococcus also can infect the lungs, heart tissue, or genitourinary organs.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms usually appear within three to six days after exposure to the virus, and it can be transmitted even after several weeks of getting infected.
The most common symptoms are:
- Severe headache that doesn't go away
- Painful, stiff neck with limited range of motion
Who is most at risk of meningitis?
Meningitis can affect anyone, but children under 5, teenagers and young adults are more at risk. People living in overcrowded households, people exposed to tobacco smoke, those with a weakened immune system and anyone with another type of respiratory infection are more likely to contract meningococcal.
In 2022, numbers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) showed that Meningococcal affects mostly Māori and Pasifika communities.
How do I get infected?
It can easily spread from person to person, especially through close contact, coughing and sneezing, sharing food, cutlery, toothbrushes or dummies, or through kissing.
How long does the virus last?
The virus could stay in your system for about 2 weeks, but most people feel better within 7 to 10 days.
Can I fully recover from it?
Although it is possible to fully recover from meningitis, some people can have permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. Being vaccinated could prevent serious complications, as well as seeking early and proper treatment.
What are the 3 types of meningitis?
Viral meningitis is the most common, followed by bacterial meningitis and
chemical and fungal meningitis as the most rare ones.
Meningococcal disease and meningitis are preventable, so get your FREE vaccine at one of our Local Doctors clinics and keep yourself and the ones you love safe.
If you have any symptoms, please, don’t hesitate to book an appointment and talk to one of our doctors or nurses.