Symptoms include high fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, irritability, severe headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright lights, severe muscle pain, pale blotchy skin and rash, seizures and loss of consciousness. Babies and young children are most at risk, and they may also exhibit the following symptoms, refuse feeds, get agitated and not want to be picked up, drowsy, floppy and unresponsive, grunt or breathe rapidly, unusual high-pitched or moaning crying and tense bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle).Infection is also common in teenagers. The rash is usually red spot which becomes purple bruising and doesn’t fade when a clear glass is rolled over it and is caused by meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning).
Drowsiness and Confusion
Sensitivity to Bright Lights
Severe Muscle Pain
Pale Blotchy Skin and Rash
Seizures, Loss of Consciousness
Countries at risk
Meningitis occurs worldwide, but epidemic outbreaks and infections are reported in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Indian subcontinent. Proof vaccination is also required for travellers to Saudi Arabia performing Hajj or Umrah.
Advice for travellers
The bacteria that causes meningitis does not survive for long outside the body, and is usually spread by prolonged close contact. It is spread by sneezing, coughing, skiing, sharing cutlery an personal possessions, such as a toothbrush. The meningococcal bacteria are carried in the throat of about 1 in 10 people without causing any illness. The bacteria can then be spread to others by prolonged close contact causing symptoms and disease in that person.
Meningitis symptoms can develop quickly and they can be difficult to spot as they as similar to symptoms of flu. Infection with meningitis is an emergency and requires admission into a hospital where you will be given antibiotics. There are two vaccines available: Meningitis ACWY and Meningitis B Vaccination is usually recommended if you travel to areas of risk and you planned activities put you at risk. All travellers to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah are required to show proof of vaccination. Travellers may be recommended a dose of Meningitis ACWY and will receive a certificate. This is given as a single injection two to three weeks before you travel.
Number of doses
From birth to 1 year- Two doses (one month apart)
1 year onwards- one dose
Visa requirement for Saudi Arabia require certificate
to be within the last three years
Meningitis Group B
2-5 months= 3 doses one month apart
6-23 months- 2 doses two months apart
2-10 years- 2 doses at least 2 months apart
Over 11 years- 2 doses at least 1 month apart
2-5 months-Booster between 12-15 months after last dose
6-11 months- Booster in second year of life at least two months after last dose
12-23 months- 12- 24 months after last dose
>2 years- need for booster not established
Meningitis ACWY For Hajj/Umrah
Meningitis symptoms can develop quickly and they can be difficult to spot as they as similar to symptoms of flu. Infection with meningitis is an emergency and requires admission into a hospital where you will be given antibiotics. All pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah are required to show proof of vaccination in the last three years against meningitis ACWY.
Vaccination is required at least 10 days before you are due to travel and you will also receive a certificate as part of your vaccination.