Meningitis and Septicaemia

Why should I have the Men ACWY vaccination?

  1. Cases of Meningitis and Septicaemia are rising due to a deadly strain.
  2. Older teenagers and University students are high risk due to mixing with a lot of new people.
  3. The people you are hanging round or living with may not even know they carry the Meningococcal bacteria
  4. The highest risks are in the first year of Uni. Students in the second year or above are not included in this programme.

What are the dangers of the Men W disease?

  1. 22 Men W cases were diagnosed in 2009 and rose to 117 by 2014 and still rising in 2015
  2. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment will help you make a full recovery but can be fatal in 1 in 10 cases and can lead to long-term health problems such as amputation, deafness, epilepsy and learning difficulties.
  3. They are particularly severe and usually treated in intensive care and it has a higher death rate than more common Men B and Men C strains.

Is there much point in getting the Men ACWY jab?

YES! The Men ACWY vaccine provides good protection against serious infections caused by four different meningococcal groups (A, C, W and Y) including meningitis and septicaemia.

The vaccine only contains the sugar coating on the surface of the four groups of meningococcal bacteria and works by triggering the body’s immune system to develop antibodies against the sugar coating without causing disease.

Will I have side effects?

Like all vaccines, the Men ACWY vaccine can cause side effects, but studies suggest they are generally mild and soon settle.

The most common side effects seen in teenagers and young people who receive the vaccine are redness, hardening and itching at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea and fatigue. It’s nothing to worry about but if you feel you need to speak to someone, call us and ask.

Who should not have the Men ACWY vaccine?

You should not have the Men ACWY vaccine if you are allergic to the vaccine or any of its ingredients. You can find out the vaccine ingredients on the NHS Choices website. You should also check with the doctor or nurse before having the Men ACWY vaccine if you:

  • have a bleeding problem, such as haemophilia, or bruise easily
  • have a high temperature
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

How to spot meningitis and septicaemia

Men W disease, like all meningococcal infections, can come on suddenly and progress quickly.

All meningococcal infections can cause meningitis and septicaemia, but Men W can also cause other illnesses, such as pneumonia and joint infections (septic arthritis).

Early symptoms of meningococcal disease include:

  • headache
  • vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • fever
  • cold hands and feet

A rash of tiny red pinpricks may also develop once septicaemia has set in. You can tell this is a meningitis rash if it doesn’t fade under pressure – for instance, when gently pressing a glass against it (the “glass test”).

If you, or a child or adult you know, has these symptoms, seek urgent medical advice. Don’t wait for a rash to develop. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are vital.

For more information, go to NHS Choices…