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Meningococcal (Travel & Hajj)

Hajj and travel

The meningococcal vaccine is compulsory for the Hajj pilgrimage which takes place annually in Saudi Arabia.

  • The vaccine is mandatory to obtain a visa to enter Saudi Arabia
  • All pilgrims over the age of two must be vaccinated against certain diseases such as meningitis


In addition to being a requirement for the Hajj pilgrimage, the meningococcal vaccine is also strongly recommended for journeys in certain parts of Africa. All travelers should consult a travel health professional preferably six weeks before departure. It is Groupe Santé Voyages' mission to support the medical planning of your trip!

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious infection of the thin membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is most often caused by an infection (bacterial, viral or fungal). Meningococcal meningitis is associated with a high case fatality rate (up to 50% when untreated) and a high frequency (greater than 10%) of severe sequelae.

Different bacteria can cause meningitis. Neisseria meningitidis is the most likely to cause major outbreaks. There have been 12 serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis, 6 of which are known to cause epidemics (A, B, C, W135, X and Y). The geographic distribution and the epidemic potential vary from one serogroup to another.

Bacterial transmission occurs from person to person through droplets of respiratory or pharyngeal secretions. Close and prolonged contact (kissing, sneezing and coughing up close together), or promiscuity with an infected person (living in a dormitory, sharing cutlery or glasses) promotes the spread of the disease. The incubation period is an average of four days but it can be between 2 and 10 days.

Possible vaccines against meningitis (A, C, W135, X and Y): Ménactra, Nimenrix, Menvéo

Source: World Health Organization