What is Meningococcal Disease?
Meningococcal disease is spread between people by direct contact or through inhalation of bacteria (coughing or sneezing). Most people are symptomless or experience a mild upper respiratory infection, but serious cases can cause fever, chills, vomiting, drowsiness and body rash. Severe cases may lead to meningitis.
Countries of Risk:
Large epidemics have occurred in sub Saharan Africa during the dry season, in Saudi Arabia, and in areas of India and Nepal.
Preparations for Travel to Risk Areas & Recommended Immunizations:
Crowds and close physical contact with strangers increase the risk of transmission, especially in areas with recent outbreaks. While cases in travelers are rare, the seriousness of the disease makes vaccination a reasonable precaution for travelers to countries where epidemics have occurred. Meningococcal vaccine is given in a single injected dose. Those who participate in an annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Haji or Umra) are required to produce a certificate of vaccination against meningococcal meningitis issued not more that 3 years and not less that 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.