Meningococcal disease can take a life in 24 hours – here’s what you need to know

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious infection that is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. A person with meningococcal disease can develop meningitis, septicaemia (blood infection) or pneumonia. The disease is spread through respiratory and throat secretions, such as coughing, sneezing, or kissing. Meningococcal disease can progress very quickly and can lead to death within 24 hours. Those who survive can experience serious long-term complications, such as brain damage, deafness and limb loss.

There are different groups of meningococcal bacteria and groups A, B, C, W and Y most commonly cause disease. Group B is the most common cause of meningococcal disease in NZ.

Babies in their first year of life and children under 5 years of age are most at risk, followed by teens and young adults. It’s important to know that your children living in school dormitories or university halls of residence are also at an increased risk due to living in close proximity to others.

Meningococcal disease can become life threatening quickly, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Early symptoms of meningococcal disease may appear mild, similar to those of a cold or flu, but can quickly progress to high fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, confusion, sensitivity to light, seizures, and a rash of tiny red or purple spots. Additional symptoms in babies may include cold hands and feet or shivering, being floppy or harder to wake, unusual crying and refusal to eat. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Vaccination is the most effective way to help protect against meningococcal disease. BEXSERO, a vaccine to help protect against meningococcal group B, is now funded on the National Immunisation Schedule for infants and eligible adolescents. There is no single vaccine which covers all meningococcal groups and a separate vaccine is required to help protect against meningococcal A,C,W and Y. So even if your child has received a meningococal vaccine in the past, they may not be protected against all groups. Talk to your doctor or nurse for more information.

Do not have BEXSERO if you are allergic (hypersensitive) to the active substances or any of the other ingredients in BEXSERO.

BEXSERO (Multicomponent meningococcal group B vaccine) is for immunisation against invasive disease caused by N. meningitidis group B from 2 months of age or per official recommendations. BEXSERO is a prescription medicine and is funded as part of the National Immunisation Schedule. See Pharmaceutical Schedule for full funding criteria. BEXSERO is also available for private purchase – normal doctor’s fees apply. A 0.5 mL dose contains the following antigens: 50 mcg each of NHBA, NadA, fHbp and 25 mcg of PorA. BEXSERO has risks and benefits. Ask your doctor if BEXSERO is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If you or your child have side effects, see your doctor. For more information, including full product details, see Bexsero Consumer Medicine Information at Trademarks are owned by or licensed to GSK. ©2023 GSK or its licensor. GlaxoSmithKline NZ Ltd, Auckland.

Date of Approval: 06 2023 Date of Expiry: 06 2025 TAPS NP19393-PM-NZ-BEX-ADVR-230001

Scroll to Top