Who is at risk?
Children aged less than 5 years, particularly infants aged less than 1 year, have the highest rate of B strain incidence. A lesser incidence is seen in late adolescence and early adulthood, predominantly strains W and Y. People with a poor functioning spleen or who have had their spleen removed or who have a complement disorder should also have the meningococcal B vaccine.
How it spreads and what is are the symptoms?
Meningococcal disease is spread via coughing or coming into contact with saliva from affected person. The infection can develop quickly and can cause serious illness or death. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are vital. Symptoms in infants and young children can include:
- refusing to feed
- irritability, fretfulness
- grunting or moaning
- extreme tiredness or floppiness
- dislike of being handled
- nausea or vomiting
- turning away from light (photophobia)
- convulsions (fits) or twitching
- rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises.
How to prevent the infection
The Victorian State Government has announced funding for an immunisation program for school students aged 15 to 19 years against Meningococcal W. We will administer the program in Bayside Secondary schools commencing in June, or you can bring your student aged 15-19 along to any of our community immunisation sessions.
Immunisation against meningococcal strain C is available for free in Victoria as part of the National Immunisation Program schedule for:
- Children at 12 months – immunisation against meningococcal serogroup C is given in combination with the booster dose of vaccine against Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Children from 13 months up to and including 19 years to catch-up (ongoing program).
Immunisation against meningococcal strain B disease is available on private prescription, via your GP only for around $140 per dose.
This vaccine is recommended for high risk groups, including:
- Infants and young children, particularly those aged less than 2 years
- Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years
- Children and adults with medical conditions that place them at a high risk of meningococcal disease, such as a poor functioning or no spleen, or following a stem cell transplant
- Laboratory personnel who frequently handle meningococcal bacteria
We offer both meningococcal strain C vaccinations and Meningococcal ACWY as part of our immunisation program.
If your child has not received a consent card for Meningcoccal ACWY you can download a copy from www.immunehero.health.vic.gov.au
Meningococcal information in different languages
For information in different languages go to www.healthtranslations.vic.gov.au
Find out more
For more information about the disease visit Better Health Channel.