Meningitis is a devastating disease and remains a major public health challenge. Meningitis can be caused by many different pathogens including viruses and fungi but the highest global burden is seen with bacterial meningitis.
Several different bacteria can cause meningitis. Neisseria meningitidis is the one with the potential to cause large epidemics. There are 12 serogroups of N. meningitidis that have been identified, 6 of which (A, B, C, W, X and Y) can cause epidemics. Geographic distribution and epidemic potential differ according to serogroup.
The bacteria are transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters (such as a dormitory, sharing eating or drinking utensils) with an infected person facilitates the spread of the disease. The average incubation period is 4 days, but can range between 2 and 10 days.
Vaccines against meningitis (A, C, W135, X and Y): Menactra, Nimenrix, Menvéo
Source: World Health Organization