World Meningitis Day: All Meningitis Matters

World Meningitis Day: All Meningitis Matters

by suchitra chari on Apr 23 2018 7:11 PM
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  • On World Meningitis Day, come together to spread awareness about meningitis.
  • The theme this year All Meningitis Matters focuses on the importance and need for multiple vaccines for all the 4 types of meningitis.
This year’s campaign will focus on the 4 different causes or types of meningitis; bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic. It also highlights that due to the variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause it, multiple vaccines are needed to protect against the disease.
World Meningitis Day is organized by The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO), which is an international member organization that is constantly working to reduce the incidence and impact of meningitis worldwide.

CoMO’s has designed an Advocacy Toolkit to help individuals and organizations to prepare for World Meningitis Day 2018. By observing the day, we can raise the global profile of meningitis and share potentially life-saving information with thousands of people worldwide.


The 2018 campaign is focused on spreading the following crucial messages

  • All Meningitis Matters – All the 4 different types of meningitis are equally important. Not all are vaccine-preventable; so it makes it more important for us to guard against every one of them.
  • Bacterial meningitis requires urgent medical attention; 1 in 5 people can die and the survivors face life-long disabilities.
  • Viral meningitis can be contagious and people may take several months to recover fully; some may also experience life-changing effects.
  • Fungal meningitis is the most common cause of adult meningitis in Africa but is not vaccine protected.
  • Parasitic meningitis occurs by ingesting the parasite.
  • Act fast - Meningitis is a potentially deadly disease; there is a great chance for a person to die from it within 24 hours.
  • All ages - Anyone of any age can be affected by it; those at higher risk are infants, adolescents, older people, and people with weakened immune systems.
  • After effects - The possible devastating after-effects in those who survive meningitis are deafness, limb loss, brain damage and seizures.
  • Global Burden - Meningitis affects more than 2.8 million people globally each year.
  • Vaccineswork - Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, up to 20% of people with bacterial meningitis will die. Immunisation has proved to be a safe, successful and cost-effective way to protect the whole population so far.
  • No single universal ‘meningitis vaccine’ - Even if an individual receives all available meningitis vaccines he is still susceptible to acquire meningitis from the other strains or types of microorganisms. Hence it is best to receive all vaccines available.
  • For example, bacterial meningitis can be caused by many bacterial species. And for the very same reason, there are a variety of vaccines that are needed to protect against it. Be aware of the safe and effective vaccines that protect against the most common meningitis types.
  • Recognize the symptoms - This will help you to find if the meningitis strain you have is vaccine preventable. Common symptoms are fever, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fast breathing, stiff neck, confusion and drowsiness, cold hands and feet, seizures. Babies and toddlers could display additional symptoms like no appetite, high pitched cries, sensitivity to light and touch, bulging of the soft spot.


What you can do on World Meningitis Day

  On social media:
  • Put up short and snappy posts with photos
  • Use hash tags (up to a maximum of 3) where you can
  • Include links to reputable websites on related articles
  • Ask the readers’ questions that they can respond to
  • Pick the time of day when most of the people are going online to see your post
  • Make use of infographics available on the website.



The PCV10, PCV13 and PPV23 vaccines give protection against the most common strains of pneumococcal bacteria across all age groups. Hib Vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenza type B bacteria. MenA, MenC, MenACWY and MenB vaccines offer protection against the most common strains of meningococcal bacteria.

Important take-home messages about vaccines

Fewer cases - Currently available vaccines could prevent more than 90% of cases of bacterial meningitis.

Herd Protection - Meningitis vaccination rates can protect even the unvaccinated population from meningitis.

Economic impact - Meningitis vaccines are a cost-effective and successful way to protect people.

Vaccine safety - All the meningitis vaccines have proven to be extremely safe.

Meningitis - Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges or membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord.

Bacterial meningitis (main types are meningococcal, pneumococcal, Group B streptococcal, hib, E.coli and TB) is spread when bacteria get transmitted from one person to another by droplets and secretions from the nose and mouth when they cough or kiss.

Viral meningitis is caused by many different types of virus; exposure to the virus might not cause meningitis. Some viral meningitis can be vaccine-protected such as MMR.

Fungal meningitis occurs mainly in immune compromised individuals. Vaccines do not exist for this type but it is not contagious.

Parasitic meningitis is not contagious too and is uncommon in humans. It is not vaccine-protected.