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Meningococcal Disease

World Meningitis Day

Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that is vaccine preventable. Infants and children under 5 years of age, and teens and adults between 15 to 24 years of age, are at high risk – but the disease can occur in people at any age. While meningococcal disease and its complications, such as meningitis, are uncommon, the consequences can be devastating.

On April 24, please join Immunize Canada in raising awareness about the importance of immunization against meningococcal disease. For more information, please visit:
Meningitis Relief (external link)
Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada (external link)
Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (external link)
Protecting our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease by Anne Geddes (external link)

inforgraphic, in English
Stop the spread of meningococcal disease
English (PDF: 1.8m)
French (PDF: 1.8m)

Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium known as meningococcus. Some people carry this germ in their throat or nose without getting sick. In rare instances, the germ overcomes the body’s natural defenses, and causes serious diseases, including bacterial meningitis (an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord), and meningococcemia (a widespread infection of the blood and other organs).

The symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting and drowsiness. Other symptoms of meningococcal disease might include sensitivity to bright light (photophobia), confusion, and a purplish skin rash. Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Meningococcal disease is serious, and sometimes fatal. Approximately 10 percent of people who develop the disease will die. In addition, about 10 percent of those who recover will have long-term complications. These can include deafness, brain damage, problems with the nervous system and seizures, and may result in amputation of one or more limbs.


Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Immunization Guide. Evergreen edition. (external link)

Canadian Paediatric Society (external link)