Meningococcal disease is caused by bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcal bacteria). These bacteria are divided into 13 strains designated by letters such as A, B, C, W and Y.
Strains B and W are currently the most common strains causing disease in Victoria. Cases of strain C have decreased since the introduction of meningococcal C vaccine to the National Immunisation Program in 2003. Different strains of bacteria have been found to cause meningococcal disease in different countries.
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.
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:
The Victorian State Government has announced funding for an immunisation program for school students aged 15 to 19 years against Meningococcal ACWY. We will administer the program to students in Year 10 in Bayside Secondary schools, or you can bring your student aged 15-19 along to any of our community immunisation sessions.
Immunisation against meningococcal strain ACWY is available for free in Victoria as part of the National Immunisation Program schedule for:
Immunisation against meningococcal strain B disease (Bexsero) is available on private prescription via your GP, or limited numbers are available via payments page only for around.
This vaccine is recommended for high risk groups, including:
We offer vaccination against 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
For information in different languages go to www.healthtranslations.vic.gov.au
For more information about the disease visit Better Health Channel.