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What is Meningitis?
A serious disease in which there is inflammation of the meninges, caused by viral or bacterial infection, and marked by intense headache and fever, sensitivity to light, and muscular rigidity. The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria Meningitides. There are many types: A, B, C, Y, W135.
How is Meningitis transmitted?
Direct contact from person to person, including respiratory droplets, sneezing and coughing. Both viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis can be spread through direct contact with nose and throat secretions. Healthy persons, who have no signs of illness, can have these bacteria in their nose or throat and spread them to others.
What are the symptoms of Meningitis?
Fever, intense headache and stiff neck are the main signs of the disease. The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Red ticks show symptoms more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and less common in milder illnesses. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.
Localized outbreaks occur in crowded spaces such as dormitories and camps, in Sub-Saharan Africa, mostly during the dry season.
What are the risks for travellers from Meningitis?
The risk is considerable in crowded conditions, as occur in pilgrimages and so on.
What are the mandatory Meningitis vaccination requirements?
A certificate of meningococcal vaccination covering ACYW135 strains is required as a condition of entry by Saudi Arabia for pilgrims visiting Mecca annually for Hajj or Umrah, and also for seasonal workers, including all travellers arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa. Visas are not issued without proof of vaccination at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Saudi Arabia.
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