Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Meningitis ACWY

The Meningitis ACWY vaccine, also known as the MenACWY vaccine, is a vaccine designed to protect against several strains of meningococcal bacteria. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These infections can progress rapidly and may cause severe complications or even be fatal.

The MenACWY vaccine provides protection against four different serogroups of the meningococcal bacteria: A, C, W, and Y. These serogroups are responsible for the majority of meningococcal cases globally.

The vaccine is typically recommended for adolescents and young adults, as they are at higher risk of contracting meningococcal disease due to factors like close living quarters and increased social interactions.

Specifically, the MenACWY vaccine is often recommended for the following groups:

  • School Children: The MenACWY vaccine is routinely offered to teenagers in school Years 9 and 10.
  • University Students: “Freshers” living in shared accommodation are at increased risk, so vaccination is often recommended before they start university.
  • Travelers: Travelers to regions where meningococcal disease is more common may require the MenACWY vaccine before their trip.
  • Other High-Risk Groups: People with certain medical conditions or immune system disorders that increase their risk of meningococcal disease may also be advised to get vaccinated.
Vaccination Price per dose Price per course
 Meningitis ACWY  £50  £50


Preventing Meningitis ACWY involves vaccination and taking certain precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Vaccination: The most effective way to prevent Meningitis ACWY is through vaccination.
  • Practice Good Hygiene: Practicing good hygiene can help reduce the risk of contracting and spreading meningococcal bacteria. This includes frequent handwashing with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing and before eating.
  • Avoid Close Contact: Meningococcal bacteria are spread through respiratory and throat secretions (e.g., coughing, kissing, sharing eating utensils). Avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick or have been diagnosed with meningococcal disease can help reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes: If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues properly and wash your hands immediately.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle, including adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise, can help maintain a strong immune system, which may reduce the risk of infection and its severity.

  • Countries at risk

    Meningitis ACWY can occur in any country, and no region is entirely free from the risk of meningococcal infections. The prevalence of specific serogroups of meningococcal bacteria can vary over time and by geographical location. Some regions, however, have reported higher rates of meningococcal disease caused by certain serogroups. Factors that contribute to the risk of Meningitis ACWY in a country or region include population density, climate, living conditions, healthcare access, vaccination rates, and the circulation of the bacteria in the community. Regions that have experienced higher incidence rates of Meningitis ACWY:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa: The "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa (consisting of the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea) experiences periodic outbreaks of meningococcal disease, particularly caused by serogroups A and W. These outbreaks are often associated with the dry season.
  • Saudi Arabia and Hajj Pilgrimage: Saudi Arabia has had occasional outbreaks of meningococcal disease, mainly during the Hajj pilgrimage, which attracts millions of Muslims from around the world.
  • Other Parts of Asia: Some parts of Asia have also reported cases of Meningitis ACWY, although the incidence rates may vary between countries.
  • United States and Europe: Meningococcal disease, including Meningitis ACWY, occurs in the United States and various European countries. The incidence rates have generally been lower than in sub-Saharan Africa, but vaccination efforts are in place to prevent outbreaks and control the spread of the bacteria.

  • Sign and Symptoms

    Meningitis ACWY shares symptoms with other forms of bacterial meningitis. The symptoms can develop rapidly and are considered a medical emergency. Early recognition and prompt treatment are crucial to improve outcomes. Meningitis ACWY symptoms:

  • High Fever: Sudden onset of high fever, often accompanied by chills or severe shivering.
  • Severe Headache: Intense headache, which may be different from typical headaches experienced by the individual.
  • Stiff Neck: Stiffness in the neck and difficulty bending the neck forward due to inflammation of the meninges (the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord).
  • Photophobia: Sensitivity to light, which can worsen the headache and neck stiffness.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: These symptoms can be present, especially in younger children.
  • Altered Mental Status: Confusion, irritability, difficulty concentrating, or other changes in mental status.
  • Seizures: In some cases, seizures may occur.
  • Skin Rash: A specific rash called a petechial or purpuric rash may develop, which consists of small red or purple spots. This rash is a severe sign and requires immediate medical attention.

    It is essential to recognize that not everyone with meningococcal disease will have all of these symptoms. Some individuals may have a combination of these signs, while others may only exhibit a few. Additionally, the symptoms may progress rapidly, leading to life-threatening complications within hours.

    In infants and young children, the symptoms of Meningitis ACWY may be less specific, and the condition can present with irritability, poor feeding, and a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on the baby's head).

    If you or someone you know experiences symptoms suggestive of meningitis, especially with the presence of a rash or other severe signs, seek immediate medical attention. Meningitis is a medical emergency, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing serious complications and reducing the risk of long-term effects or death.