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It's never too late to be vaccinated.



The strains of meningococcal bacteria which are most common differ from country to country, and even locally from region to region. There are vaccines available, but they don't protect against all strains (serogroups) of meningococci.

The vaccine for C-strain (introduced in Australia in 2003) has been very effective, and the incidence of C-disease is now very uncommon. There is no vaccination against the deadly B-strain — which is responsible for the majority of cases in Australia.

  • C-Strain: For adults and children over 12 months, one vaccination provides long term protection against C-strain). For babies under 12 months vaccination is not recommended as it is so rare.
  • B-Strain: 3 doses will be required, at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, followed by a booster at age 12-18 months. Older infants, children and teens will require 2 doses, 2 months apart.
  • For travellers, there's a vaccine for C, A, W and Y strains.
  • It's important to remember that vaccinations will not protect you from catching a meningococcal strain not included in the vaccine. So you still need to be vigilant, and aware of the possible symptoms and action to take. The symptoms of all strains of meningococcal disease are the same.

    A while ago it was believed that meningococcal bacteria were passed on via saliva, so precautions included not sharing drink bottles, toothbrushes, dummies, mouth guards and cigarettes. More recently, research has shown that the infection is only spread through close contact (such as deep kissing) and respiratory droplets (such as coughing and sneezing). Even so, not sharing items which are put in the mouth (such as drink bottles) is still considered good health practice.