Meningitis C: what is it, symptoms, contagion, vaccine, is it curable?


What is meningitis C?

The meningitis is an infection that occurs in the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. It can happen due to bacterial, viral infection, fungus or trauma.

Meningitis C, or meningococcal meningitis, specifically, is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis .

Many of the common symptoms of this disease resemble those of other illnesses, such as the flu . However, one of them is very characteristic, when the patient has stiff neck and is unable to touch his chin to his chest.

Among the types of meningitis, those caused by bacteria are the most alarming, due to the number of cases and the possible outbreaks they can cause, since they can be transmitted by respiratory secretions.

In Brazil, campaigns for vaccination of meningitis C are strongly encouraged. This fact is largely due to the fame that the disease left when, in the 1970s, it caused a major epidemic in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to the risk of an epidemic, this is a disease that can leave serious consequences for the patient and even lead to death, if not treated quickly and properly. Fortunately, there is a vaccine and, currently, campaigns are activated to reinforce the importance of prevention.

Meningitis C affects people of all ages, but it has a higher incidence in children under 5 years old and infants between 3 and 12 months. In the face of epidemics, the age groups most affected may vary.

The  Neisseria meningitidis, the bacterium that causes, is distributed everywhere in the world. The highest incidence of cases, however, is concentrated in the region of sub-Saharan Africa, an area that stretches from the west, in Senegal, to the east, in Ethiopia.

Even with prevention tools, approximately 30 thousand cases are registered annually in this area of ​​greatest risk.

In the text below, you will see the symptoms, complications and ways of preventing meningitis C. Good reading!


Meningitis C is caused by the bacterium   Neisseria meningitidis, or meningococcus. Its infectious process begins in the nasopharynx, a region located above the soft palate and posterior to the nasal cavity.

To cause meningitis, these bacteria need to form a kind of colony in the patient’s nasopharynx and remain there. However, the presence of bacteria alone does not mean that the patient will manifest meningitis.

What happens is that these bacteria attach themselves to receptors of non-ciliated cells of the nasopharynx and later move to phagocytic vacuoles (cellular structures responsible for the defense of the body by ingesting bacteria and other foreign agents).

Non-hair cells are cells that are unable to alert the body of the presence of these bacteria, and as they are encapsulated, they become more resistant to a process called phagocytosis. In this process, phagocytic vacuoles are unable to defend themselves.

The big problem is that, in this way, these bacteria reach the bloodstream, which becomes a serious risk to the patient’s health, as these organisms end up reaching and causing an infection in the meninges, the three membranes (dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater) that surround and protect the Central Nervous System (CNS).

The CNS, part of the nervous system composed of the brain and spinal cord, is like a great channel for the exchange of information in our organism. It is there that the messages related to the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) arrive and it is from him that the commands for the functions of the muscles and glands come from.

In addition to the protection of the meninges, the CNS also has the protection of the cerebrospinal fluid, which acts as a shock absorber in cases of injuries.

This fluid, in the face of bacterial infection of meningitis C, undergoes changes, which becomes essential to diagnose the disease.

Is meningitis C transmissible?

Yes , meningitis C is transmissible and therefore becomes even more dangerous and worrisome. Even if the person infected with the bacteria is not showing symptoms, as a carrier, it can transmit to other people.

Transmission occurs through respiratory secretions, where the bacteria spreads through droplets expelled by sneezing and coughing. In addition, it can be transmitted by kissing or sharing goals such as cutlery, glasses, lipsticks and cigarettes.

Very small, stuffy or overcrowded places, such as public transport at peak times, can also be a focus of transmission. Therefore, people who share a room or sleep in dormitories should pay attention to any signs of the disease.

If meningitis is suspected, seek medical help as soon as possible and avoid staying in places with these characteristics. Also, never share the utensils used to eat or drink.

The average incubation time is 4 days, which can vary from 2 to 10 days. The entry of this bacterium into the body can happen both through the nose (most common) as well as through the ears, throat, lungs and skin. In rarer cases, entry may be direct, through head wounds.

Groups of risk

In general, everyone is susceptible to the disease, since its transmission occurs from person to person. However, in some age groups and conditions, meningitis C shows a higher risk. See what they are:


Meningococcal meningitis is a serious health condition and becomes even more dangerous for children, who represent the majority of cases of the disease.

They are part of the most worrying risk group, because during the first years of life, the child’s defense system is still not completely organized, so to speak. Thus, it becomes more fragile due to the action of the bacteria.

The need for an immediate diagnosis and treatment, in these cases, becomes even more urgent, as meningitis C can cause death in a matter of hours, or even leave severe sequelae in the child.

It is not always easy to recognize symptoms in children, as the stiff neck, for example, is not a common sign in small children.

In children under one year of age it may be even less evident to notice meningitis, so it is necessary to be aware of signs such as more tense or elevated soft spot, irritability, body stiffness, constant restlessness and persistent and high-pitched crying.


In the elderly, meningitis C is also usually a higher risk. It does not cause as many cases of death as in children, but even so, greater attention is needed.

The reason for being within the risk group is the same as for children. Like them, the elderly also have a more unstable immune system.

Community environment

People who share a room or live in republics are part of a risk group for meningitis C.

Considering the fact that diseases transmissible by respiratory secretions tend to spread even more in very crowded places or where very large groups of people live together, this disease becomes a greater risk for these individuals.

People who live or are going to travel to a risk area

In some countries, the disease has a higher incidence of cases. The meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa represents the greatest burden. People who are traveling to countries in the region should be careful, as the risk of contracting the disease is greater.

It is also necessary to verify the need to receive the vaccine before embarking. The same goes for residents of the region, who must follow the prevention recommendations.

People with medical complications

Some medical conditions can place the patient within the risk groups for meningitis C. For example, people who have diseases like AIDS , who have a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk.

Other conditions, such as not having a spleen or having a complement deficiency, can also increase a person’s chances of having the disease.

Symptoms of meningitis C

The symptoms of meningitis C appear within a few days after exposure of the organism to the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. However, they do not always appear the same in all patients, not even in the same order.

Another important aspect within the analysis of symptoms is that many of the signs are common to several diseases. Initially, the signs of meningitis may appear as a simple flu, but it will get worse quickly.

In newborns it is even more complicated, as they may not have the most characteristic symptoms of the disease, such as fever , stiff neck and headaches.

In place of these signs, they may be slower, more irritable, less active and lack appetite. Another sign of meningitis C common in babies is a possible swelling or tension in the soft spot.

Considering that meningitis C is a serious disease, diagnosing it as early as possible is crucial, therefore, knowing the most characteristic signs of this pathology is essential.

Know what are the symptoms that patients may have in this condition:

  • High fever (38ºC or above);
  • Severe headaches;
  • Stiff neck;
  • Photophobia;
  • Sore throat;
  • Intracranial pressure;
  • Somnolence;
  • Difficulty waking up;
  • Convulsions;
  • Feeling of mental confusion;
  • Vomiting and nausea;
  • Irritability;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Tiredness;
  • Lethargy (unconsciousness and inability to react to external stimuli);
  • Red spots on the skin, which may be large or small.

At first, the spots may be similar to small bites, but as the disease progresses, they spread quickly throughout the body. With this evolution, the appearance of the spots, now larger, are reddish or purple in color.

In dark-skinned people, these rashes can be more difficult to identify. In such cases, it should be noted whether the spots are present in paler regions, such as the soles of the feet, hands, inside the eyelids, belly and roof of the mouth.

The red spots on the skin, in this pathology, are one of the tests for the diagnosis of the disease, but that is not always possible.

It must be said that, when touching a glass and pressing it on the stain, if the skin does not turn white in the area with this pressure, it may be a sign of blood poisoning, which may indicate meningitis C.

Of all the symptoms that meningitis C can manifest in the patient, it is important to pay attention to the main four:

  • Fever;
  • Headaches;
  • Stiff neck;
  • Spots on the skin.

About 27% of patients have the first three main symptoms, and 89% have at least two symptoms of these four signs.

The increase in intracranial pressure is a symptom present at the very beginning of the infection, skin rashes, photophobia, stiff neck, changes in consciousness and headaches usually appear later.

These factors make early diagnosis a challenge, especially in cases that occur at the end of winter, a season in which these symptoms may be common in cases of influenza.

How is the diagnosis made?

To reach the diagnosis of meningitis C, it is possible that the patient has to undergo an evaluation by general practitioners and pediatricians, with the most appropriate being the care of infectious disease physicians and neurologists .

The diagnosis is clinical, in which the patient must be referred for specific tests, such as lumbar puncture, blood tests and imaging:

Lumbar puncture

Lumbar puncture is not so simple and can cause some despair in people who are uncomfortable with injections. In it, the doctor inserts a needle into the patient’s spinal cord to be able to extract a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid.

For the peace of mind of patients, in almost all cases local anesthesia is used. General anesthesia, in turn, is not widely used. But, on occasions when the patient is unable to remain awake during the procedure, use is made.

During the examination, the patient should lie on his side, in a fetal position. This needle is a little bigger than we are used to, with an average of 12 centimeters. After being properly sanitized, it must be inserted between the L3 / L4 or L4 / L5 lumbar vertebrae.

When it reaches the spinal cord, the needle mandrel (the part that fills it) is removed so that the liquid can escape. Only a few drops are needed.

After removing the needle, a little pressure should be applied to the area to prevent more liquid from spilling.

This is not a lengthy examination and does not require any special preparation. The only recommendation is that the patient should avoid heavy meals.

On average, the exam takes 15 to 20 minutes to do, but it depends a lot on the patient, since for some people it can be more complicated.

It is understandable that there is a fear of taking the test, as it causes pain and is uncomfortable. However, it is effective for the diagnosis of meningitis C to prove the presence of the causative bacteria.

With lumbar puncture it is possible to analyze the color of cerebrospinal cerebrospinal fluid and its pressure, for example, specific aspects of diseases related to meninges. Compared to other forms of diagnosis, this one proves to be the most accurate.

In general, lumbar puncture is an examination without major complications, as the amount of fluid removed is too small to cause any damage to the spinal cord or the CNS.

The risks associated with the test are more likely to happen due to an infection, hemorrhage or technical failure at the time of execution.


From the cerebrospinal fluid obtained in the lumbar puncture exam, a bacterioscopy is performed to identify if it is really bacterial meningitis , or if the cause is caused by a virus or fungus.

Finding it to be bacterial meningitis , the test can also identify which bacterium. This procedure is essential to continue the treatment with the most appropriate antibiotic.


Blood culture is an exam that identifies the presence of bacteria or fungi in the blood. After collecting the patient’s blood, a culture is performed.

The collection is made from two different parts of the body, usually the blood is drawn from the veins in both arms. No specific preparation for the exam is necessary, not even fasting.

The process, from blood collection, to diagnosis, takes about 5 days. During this time, the blood passes through specific vials for the culture, to identify the presence of the bacterium, which type of bacteria and, subsequently, it must pass tests for antibiotic resistance .

Physical exams

Physical examinations to diagnose meningitis are done by analyzing the characteristic symptoms of the disease, such as stiff neck. In a first contact, the doctor may ask the patient to try to touch the chin to the chest, a simple way to check this sign.

Neurological tests may also be ordered to identify the patient’s levels of consciousness and check the pressure inside the head (intracranial hypertension).

Among the physical exams that can be done is the glass test option. When observing that meningitis C patients have red spots on the body as symptoms, some parents try to perform this test to clear up the doubt.

It can work, because really many patients with the disease have the spots and the pressure of a glass on the affected skin region is not white, as it would be in someone healthy. However, it is a risk that should not be taken.

Some patients with this disease do not even get the spots on the skin and, in some cases, this is one of the late symptoms.

In a disease like meningitis, a slow diagnosis can be decisive. Therefore, testing the cup alone is not enough.

Computed tomography

It is also possible, as a diagnosis, to perform a CT scan on the patient to see if there is any damage to the brain, such as swelling.

This is an image exam, which uses X-ray to bring details from the inside of any part of the body. It is not a painful exam, it is usually very fast and proves to be very accurate, even in emergencies.

Can meningitis C be cured?

Yes , meningitis C is curable. However, it still depends a lot on an early diagnosis and an effective treatment. Many patients are able to recover with treatment, but it is possible that they will have sequels of the disease.


The treatment of meningococcal meningitis is done with antibiotic medications. Because it is a serious disease, meningitis is usually treated in an emergent way , in which the doctor prescribes generalized antibiotics.

When it is confirmed to be bacterial meningitis, antibiotics must be changed to treat specifically.

People who have been exposed to the patient should receive preventive treatment. Antibiotics can be administered intravenously (injection) for 7 to 14 days. The time depends on the clinical evolution of the patient.

In meningitis C, the recommendation of antibiotics by doctors should be made as soon as possible, preferably soon after the results of lumbar puncture or blood culture.

In addition to antibiotics, treatment consists of fluid replacement and medical follow-up.

In more severe cases, there is a medical recommendation for the use of corticosteroid medications, which can help to reduce the swelling around the brain.

There are studies that show that the use of these drugs can be beneficial to reduce the risks of severe sequelae of meningitis C, such as hearing loss. However, one must consider the side effects that these drugs have.

Other emergency resources, which can be used in hospital treatment, include the use of respiratory support (masks), medications to control low blood pressure and wound care on the patient’s body.


The main type of medication used to treat meningitis C is antibiotics. In places with few resources and limited health infrastructure, there is the use of chloramphenicol and ceftriaxone oils.

  • Ceftriaxona;
  • Chloramphenicol ;
  • Ampicillin ;
  • Penicillin G;
  • Cefotaxime;
  • Vancomycin ;
  • Gentamicin .


NEVER  self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.


According to the World Health Organization, meningitis C is considered a very serious type of the disease, being lethal in up to half of the cases that are not treated.

The prognosis of the disease is more positive when the diagnosis and treatment are early, but factors such as age, clinical conditions, inflammatory response of the organism and etiological issues must be considered.

Thus, mortality rates vary. When treatment and diagnosis is rapid, the rate can drop to 5% to 15%. In newborn meningitis, the condition becomes more severe, with a rate of 15% to 20%, reaching 40%. In underdeveloped countries these figures may be even higher.

Deaths from meningococcal meningitis occur early in the disease, within the first three days.

Because it is a pathology considered serious, even when treatment is immediate, the patient can have serious complications, where one in five meningitis C patients has long-term sequelae, such as brain damage and hearing loss.

Living together

Despite being curable, meningitis C is a painful disease and can have severe sequelae. At that moment, the patient may have to learn to live with the signs that the disease has left, in order to continue performing their day-to-day activities in the best possible way.

As it has a significant mortality rate, it will also be a difficult time for family members who have lost someone.

Some patients, especially as children, may experience emotional and physical symptoms caused by the disease disorder, such as starting to have nightmares frequently, bed wetting, learning disabilities, depression and fear of hospitals and doctors.

Here are some tips for living with meningitis C as best as possible:

Enjoy your time with the people who do you well

Meningitis C is a serious disease that can be fatal. It is important for the patient to recognize this factor and understand that success in treatment is like a new beginning, that even with sequels and complications, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Therefore, it is important to value the moments with the people who do you well and perform activities that provide pleasure and happiness.

Likewise, families who have lost someone to the disease, however difficult that moment may be, must seek motivations to move forward.

Seek to adapt to new needs

At that time, it is important to listen to your body’s needs and be patient during treatment so that your body will recover in the best way. Patients who study and work are likely to be on leave for a period of time.

Patients who have more severe complications, such as total hearing loss, for example, need adaptations for their daily lives, which may even result in changes in the work area, at school and at home.

At this time, it is important to have the support of family members and close people, to make this phase easier to overcome.

Talk about negative feelings

As well as the patient’s physical health, mental health should also be a priority. Many patients have difficulty dealing with negative feelings in the face of a serious condition such as meningitis C.

It is important to encourage these patients to talk about their feelings and emotions, especially in relation to the sequelae, which can be difficult to be accepted or understood immediately.

In the case of young children, it may be common for them to avoid mentioning what happened to them, or to become more irritable, sad and introverted.

It can be beneficial for these patients to share their experiences, talk to other people who have been through the same problem and even seek support from a professional, such as the psychologist.


Because it is severe and interferes with the CNS, this disease can trigger a series of complications and, as seen earlier, lead to death. It is estimated that 1 in 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.

Know the main sequelae that this disease can cause:


People who have had meningitis C may have septic arthritis as a sequel . This complication happens by an immune reaction of the body to the disease bacteria.

In this condition, symptoms such as severe pain in the joints appear during the first weeks after the incidence of meningitis. The indicated treatment, in this case, is to remain at rest and the use of analgesics prescribed to relieve pain.

Arthritis usually improves within a few weeks, but, in rare cases, joint pain can be permanent.

Hearing loss

Although the bacterial infection of this type of meningitis affects the CNS as a whole, and it is associated with the functioning of the 5 senses, it is the hearing that is most affected.

It is common for children who had the disease to have hearing loss as a sequel, which may be a mild, moderate or severe loss (deafness).

The degree of hearing damage depends on factors such as age and the effectiveness of treating meningitis. This hearing loss happens due to an infection that can enter the inner ear, causing damage to the hair cells of the cochlea (spiral-shaped cavity) and to the nerve fibers of our hearing system.

This complication is classified as a sensorineural hearing loss, being a permanent loss.

In some cases, it is possible for the cochlea to ossify and the existing hearing loss to become even more severe. This is one of the factors that makes medical monitoring of hearing loss so important.

Routine examinations are essential to check the health of the ears. Another complication related to hearing loss due to meningitis C is a condition called glue ear , in English. In it, the middle ear is filled with a sticky fluid similar to glue.

Although unpleasant, this is not a permanent damage and, in most cases, disappears spontaneously.

Vision loss

Just as it can cause hearing loss, patients who have had meningitis can suffer sequelae in their vision, having partial or total loss.

Skin necrosis and limb loss

The percentage of cases of patients with skin necrosis due to meningitis C is 9.4%. Therefore, in 2.4% it is necessary to perform a skin graft and, in 1%, there is amputation of limbs.

Brain damage

Patients who have had meningitis C may have various brain complications, such as cerebral palsy , mental retardation, hydrocephalus , cerebral edema and seizures .

The damage is not always permanent and serious. In some cases, the cause of these damages is also not so clear, as in situations where there is loss of memory, loss of concentration and coordination. In view of these conditions, with the treatment of the disease, a natural improvement can be achieved.

Even during the action of the bacteria on the meninges, even before treatment, there may be an increase in intracranial pressure  that prevents the possibility of a lumbar puncture in the diagnosis.

The damage caused by increased pressure or lack of oxygen can affect any area of ​​the brain, which can interfere with various functions of the body that the affected area controls.

Problems such as memory loss, coordination, balance, lack of ability to perform tasks such as writing, speaking, vision loss, partial paralysis, epilepsy and other complications are related to these two factors mentioned.

During treatment at the hospital, it is not always possible for doctors to predict whether any of these sequelae will occur or whether they will be permanent in the patient.

How to prevent meningitis C

The main form of prevention against meningitis C is the vaccine . From 2 months of age it is already possible to receive it.

Other ways to avoid the disease involve taking care when sharing objects, avoiding crowded and closed places, informing yourself about possible epidemics. When traveling, for example, research whether there is a need to receive the vaccine before boarding.

However, vaccination is still the most effective way to prevent or contain the disease. According to the World Health Organization, in places where outbreaks of the disease are common, a successful vaccination campaign can decrease the number of cases by 70%.

In addition to the vaccine and this care, it is possible to prevent meningitis C with chemoprophylaxis. Understand what it is:


Chemoprophylaxis is a form of preventive medicine that seeks to prevent secondary cases of meningitis C. It is used to treat people close to a diagnosed patient.

Although it does not mean total and prolonged protection, it presents good results in containing secondary cases.

Therefore, it should be done with the use of specific antibiotics, up to 48 hours after exposure to the disease, considering this time as the time for transmission and incubation of the bacteria.

These cases called secondary are not very common, but they should still be treated preventively.

How does the vaccine against meningitis C work?

The vaccine offers protection against group C meningococcal bacteria. This same bacterium has other serogroups that can cause other types of meningitis, but in the case of this disease, the vaccine corresponding to serogroup C must be applied.

In babies up to one year old, the vaccine used is a combination of HIB and meningitis C. HIB is a bacterium that can cause meningitis and other diseases such as   pharyngitis , bronchitis and pneumonia .

The side effects caused by the vaccine are generally mild and short-term. They include symptoms such as fever, redness and pain at the injection site.

Vaccination efficacy is usually good, in some cases it has a long duration, without the need for a second dose. When applied to children under 1 year of age, it is even more efficient.


The vaccine against meningitis C is indicated for risky age groups and in some more specific cases:

Children and babies

From 2 months of age, babies can already receive the first dose of the vaccine against meningitis C. The vaccination schedule is defined when the next booster doses should be taken.

It is essential that parents pay attention to vaccination dates, especially within the first years, as children are part of the risk group.

For children who have specific characteristics, the vaccine is even more essential, as in the following cases:

  • Children who have a rare disorder or deficiency in the complement system;
  • Children who have damage to the spleen, or who have removed it;
  • Children belonging to a population considered to be at risk;
  • Children who have HIV;
  • Children who are going to travel to a place where the disease is common or region where they have an outbreak.

Teenagers and adults

The vaccine is indicated for all adolescents between the age group of 11 to 14 years old, receiving a booster dose at 16 years old.

In adults, the vaccine is indicated in more specific cases, in which a vaccination schedule or defined age group is not established. The specific cases posed for children and babies should also be considered in these two groups.

Specific cases

In some more specific cases, the vaccine is also recommended. Are they:

  • People living in the area are affected by an epidemic of the disease;
  • University students residing in republics or dormitories;
  • For people traveling to areas where the disease is more common, such as southern Sahara (Africa), between the dry season (December and June) and Saudi Arabia;
  • Military recruits;
  • People who work in laboratories or industries who research about the bacterium;
  • People who have an immune system disorder, such as patients with sickle cell anemia;
  • People who have dysfunction in the spleen or who have undergone surgery for removal (splenectomized).


The vaccine against meningitis C has some contraindications. It should not be performed in the following cases:

Severe allergic reaction

People who have had a severe allergic reaction, including risk of death, after receiving a dose of the vaccine should not receive booster.

It is also contraindicated by people who have any reaction to the components of the vaccine. The professional who will apply the vaccine can inform you what the ingredients are, to avoid complications.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women

The vaccine is contraindicated for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In the face of an outbreak or risky situation, the doctor should consider whether the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risks of not taking it.

People with serious illnesses

People who are suffering from other diseases and who already show a weakened health status are not indicated to get the vaccine. The recommendation is that they expect an improvement in the current situation to receive the vaccine safely.

Likewise, in cases of urgency such as an epidemic, the physician must assess the risk-benefit ratio of the vaccine.

Side effects

The possible side effects of the meningitis C vaccine include signs such as redness and pain at the site, and, in some cases, fever for 1 or 2 days.

More serious reactions are rare, but they can happen, as the vaccine is also a form of medicine. If the side effects continue for more than 2 days or more serious signs appear, medical advice should be sought.

Types of vaccine for meningitis C

There are three different types of vaccine for this disease: polysaccharide, conjugate and protein- based vaccines .

Polysaccharide vaccines

Polysaccharide vaccines are most used in response to epidemics, especially in the most affected regions of Africa. It is a low-cost vaccine and therefore it becomes a good option for these cases.

We can also associate its use in outbreaks with its bivalent (for serogroups A and C), trivalent (for serogroups A, C and W) or tetravalent (for serogroups A, C, Y and W).

This type of vaccine, however, does not become the best option in all cases, as it is not effective before the age of 2, offers protection for 3 years and does not induce herd immunity.

Therefore, it is a vaccine to stop an outbreak, but not a prevention vaccine, as it does not stimulate the immune system to recognize the bacteria and produce antibodies.

Conjugated vaccines

They are used as prevention and are part of vaccination programs or campaigns. This means that the vaccine marked on your vaccination schedule belongs to this type.

However, conjugate vaccines can also be used in response to outbreaks and are even more effective than polysaccharides.

The immunity of conjugated vaccines offers a longer duration, of 5 years or more, prevents the organism from transporting the bacteria and promotes the herd effect, that is, it prevents the health of the vaccinee and, consequently, the health of the population.

Unlike polysaccharide vaccines, they can be used from 1 year of age, containing monovalent (protection to serogroup C), monovalent A (serogroup A) and tetravalent (serogroups A, C, Y and W).

Protein-based vaccine

Some vaccines are made with proteins. They help to destroy the bacteria capsules, which are composed of a substance similar to sugar.

These proteins help the body’s defense system to react against disease and provide long-term protection. So it is with this type of vaccine for meningitis C.

It is specific to act against Neisseria meningitidis  and is most used in response to outbreaks.

Vaccination campaign

The vaccination campaign against meningitis C, in Brazil, is an action proposed by the Ministry of Health, to intensify prevention against the disease. Alongside meningitis C, the campaign reinforces the importance of the HPV vaccine .

In 2017, vaccines were applied to adolescents aged 12 to 13 years, which meant a total of 2.3 million vaccinated people, with booster or a single dose.

In 2018, the campaign changed the age group to serve boys and girls aged 11 to 14, with the goal of vaccinating about 10 million teenagers.

The vaccine, according to the vaccination schedule, should be applied at 3, 5 and 12 months of age, and with reinforcement in adolescence.

Applying the vaccine in this age group, there is direct protection for these adolescents and, by herd effect, the protection extends to other people, who belong to groups at risk or not.

Although the campaign remains active for a limited time, the vaccine can be made throughout the year. Just go to a health unit, take the vaccination book and be within the established age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meningitis C is a disease that raises many doubts. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

I have had contact with someone who has been diagnosed with meningitis C, should I see a doctor?

Yes , it should. Meningitis C is a serious disease and, even with a cure, there is a risk of sequelae. As it is transmissible, it is advisable to see a doctor so that he can guide you.

Having contact with someone with the symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have the disease, but the closest contact does indicate a possibility. Just in case, get help. There is no point in taking that risk.

But, remember: only a professional can refer you to the use or not of medications. Even if you suspect you have the disease, never self-medicate.

What is the difference between meningococcal disease and meningococcal meningitis?

In fact, there is no way to differentiate, one condition belongs to another, that is, meningococcal meningitis, or meningitis C, is a type of Meningococcal Disease (DM).

In DM, there are different forms of manifestation, the most common of which are meningitis C and septic syndrome.

When bacterial infection attacks the bloodstream, specifically, what you have is the manifestation of septic syndrome, which will have skin rashes as its main characteristic. In meningitis C, the infection manifests itself in the meninges.

Is it possible to contract this disease more than once?

It is very rare, but yes, it is possible. The infection that occurred primarily does not make the patient immune to other infections in the future. Therefore, the ideal is that anyone has a preventive posture.

The recommendation is that all preadolescents and adolescents be vaccinated. In special situations, adults and children should also be vaccinated against this disease.

With the vaccine, am I fully immune to the disease?

Vaccines against types of meningitis are very specific. A person who has been vaccinated against meningitis C, which is a disease caused by bacteria, for example, may develop viral meningitis .

Is there any risk that the vaccine will end up causing the disease?

No , this risk does not exist in any vaccine, against any type of meningitis. The vaccines used to prevent meningitis C are conjugate vaccines that do not have live microorganisms.

Only part or fragments of these microorganisms are used, capable of promoting an immune response and the creation of antibodies to fight the bacteria. Therefore, there is no reason to fear the vaccine, it should not cause the disease.

Why is it necessary to have the vaccine under 1 year of age?

The meningitis C prevention vaccine should be taken in the first year of life, as it is at this moment that the greatest number of cases of the disease occurs. In addition, it causes more serious sequelae and the risk of death is greater.

Polysaccharide vaccines are cheaper, but they are not the most indicated or used, why?

Despite having the option of receiving the vaccine through public health networks, there is the possibility of receiving the vaccine by private units. In one way or another, this vaccine comes at a cost.

Polysaccharides are the cheapest, but they are not the most used because they are less efficient. They produce less antibodies and cannot be used to vaccinate children under 2 years old, the age group that is within the risk groups.

In addition, antibody levels last less time, with an average protection for 3 years.

With booster doses, side effects may become stronger, the immune response may become worse and, ultimately, not be able to even induce immune memory.

This means that if the person who received this vaccine comes into contact with the bacteria, it may be that their body does not recognize it and does not produce the necessary antibodies.

In this article we discuss the risks of meningitis C and how its prevention is essential to prevent epidemics and decrease the mortality rate of this disease.

When you notice any of the symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. Don’t forget to share this text with your friends and family!