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Where is this disease found?

Meningitis (inflammation of the meninges sometimes referred to initially simply as ‘a stiff neck’) occurs worldwide. However, the risk of an outbreak increases in winter months and in places with high population density. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa (from Senegal to Ethiopia, the so called ‘meningitis belt’) the disease occurs in the dry season from December to June.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

The onset of meningitis is usually sudden, with the patient suffering from a severe headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and a stiff neck together with certain neurological symptoms.

How is the disease contracted?

Meningitis bacteria are transmitted from person to person through the droplets released into the air when we cough or sneeze. The risk of infection increases in crowded places and at crowded events, e.g. going to Hajj in Mecca, or in refugee camps. Once bacteria enter the bloodstream they rapidly spread throughout the body resulting in shock, subcutaneous bleeding or even death.

What action should you take?

Get vaccinated. Avoid crowded places. Contact your doctor immediately if you have had close contact with an infected person.