Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, known as a meningococcus.

It causes severe illnesses including:

  • meningitis (an infection of membranes that cover the brain)
  • septicaemia (blood poisoning).

This section has information for health professionals, and answers to commonly asked questions.

For more information, including symptoms, illness and immunisation, visiting Meningococcal disease in the YourHealth section.

Information for health professionals

The HealthEd resource Meningococcal Disease – Information for Health Professionals has information on signs and symptoms and recommended antibiotics for suspected cases.

More detailed information can be found in the Immunisation Handbook 2011 and the Communicable Disease Control Manual. Also see related websites on the right for links to the Centers for Disease Control (US) and the Health Protection Agency (UK) websites.

Parenteral antibiotics should be administered to all cases as soon as meningococcal disease is suspected.

Attending medical practitioners and laboratories must immediately notify a medical officer of health of any suspected cases of meningococcal disease. Notification should not await confirmation. Public health services will follow-up cases and people who have been in close contact with the case.

Questions and answers

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