Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the protective layers that surround the brain and spinal cord.1 Meningitis is usually caused by a virus or bacteria.2 Several different viruses and bacteria can cause meningitis.2 Viral meningitis is the most common and least serious type.2 Bacterial meningitis is rare but can be very serious if not treated.2

Meningococcal disease is a rare, serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus.1 The most frequent presentation of meningococcal disease is meningitis.3 Another presentation of meningococcal disease is septicaemia (blood poisoning).1,4 The terms meningococcal disease, meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia are used interchangeably in this website.

Your Risk

Your risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis varies by your age, and by the country you live in or travel to.1 Follow these links to explore the risks for yourself and others.


For infants or young children under four years of age


Young teens

For young adolescents aged 13 or 14

Young Teens

Young adults

For young adults up to 24 years of age

Young Adults

Travelling Abroad

For those travelling to certain destinations

Travelling Abroad

Take Action

There are steps you can take to help protect against meningococcal disease.1 Follow this link to discover how you can access the vaccinations that are right for yourself and others.



1. World Health Organization. Meningococcal meningitis factsheet. Last Accessed September 2019

2. National Health Service. Meningitis: causes. Last Accessed September 2019

3. Branco RG and Tasker RC. Meningococcal meningitis. Curr Treat Options Neurol 2010;12:464–74. doi: 10.1007/s11940-010-0086-5.

4. Parikh SR, et al. Epidemiology, clinical presentation, risk factors, intensive care admission and outcomes of invasive meningococcal disease in England, 2010-2015. Vaccine. 2018;36(26):3876–81. doi: 10.1016/j. vaccine.2018.02.038.

PP-VAC-GBR-1264 September 2019