World Meningitis Day: exploring the impact of meningitis

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

April 24th, 2019

Editorial Team

‘What is life like after meningitis? This World Meningitis Day (24 April), the spotlight falls on those who survive and those left behind ’

A single case of meningitis affects more than one person. For those who lose a loved one to the disease, it can change their lives forever. When someone survives meningitis, it can have lasting impact on them and their families.

Parents and carers often take time off work to care for survivors, while families affected by a fatal case of meningitis can struggle to regain the lives they once knew.

Read more about meningitis in our Diseases section

Meningitis and septicaemia can strike in a matter of hours but the after effects can last a lifetime: memory loss, deafness, loss of sight, epilepsy, paralysis, limb loss, organ damage, and brain damage.  

Meningitis can kill in 24 hours, so recognising the symptoms and acting fast is crucial. If you suspect meningitis, seek medical attention immediately.


Meningitis currently affects more than 2.8 million people each year globally. Anyone of any age can be affected by meningitis. Infants, young children, teens and older people are at greater risk.


Vaccinations are key to meningitis prevention There is more than one vaccine that can help prevent meningitis. Speak to your local healthcare provider to learn which vaccines are available.

There is no single ‘meningitis vaccine’ – receiving one type of meningitis vaccine will not protect an individual against other strains or types of meningitis. Not all strains of meningitis are vaccine preventable, so it is crucial to watch for symptoms.

Some types of viral meningitis can be prevented by vaccination. For examples, as the MMR vaccine protects against mumps and measles, it also helps protect against viral meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis can be caused by many different types of bacteria. That is why there are a variety of vaccines that are needed to protect against it, such as MenC, MenA, MenACWY, MenB, PCV10, PCV13, PPV23 and Hib.