About meningococcal disease

Information for the public is available about: 

  • Men ACWY vaccine 
  • Meningococcal disease 

Learn more on NHS inform (external website). 

Meningococcal disease refers to illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (N. meningitidis). 

It is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and individuals often display symptoms of meningitis and/or septicaemia.  

N. meningitidis is classified according to its outer membrane characteristics via a process known as serogrouping

There are a number of different serogroups, the most common of which in Scotland is B.

Meningitis refers to any condition that causes an inflammation of the meninges, the outer membrane of the spinal cord. 

Meningitis may be caused by a range of viral or bacterial infections.

Common symptoms of meningitis include:

  • fever 
  • vomiting 
  • headache 
  • neck stiffness 
  • photophobia 
  • a non-blanching petechial rash 

Although approximately 10% of the population are estimated to carry N. meningitidis in the nasopharynx, the vast majority do not have symptoms or develop invasive disease. 

Invasive cases acquire infection through inhalation of or direct contact with respiratory droplets, from either an infected person or asymptomatic carrier.  

Complications from meningococcal disease 

The mortality from meningococcal disease in the UK is approximately 10%.  

One in every two to three survivors are left with permanent problems.  

The main complications associated with meningitis include: 

  • hearing loss 
  • epilepsy 
  • learning impairment 
  • loss of limbs 

More information on meningitis can be found on NHS inform (external website). 

Last updated: 06 October 2022