Meningococcal Vaccine (ACWY)
Meningococcal infection is caused by the meningococcal disease of which early symptoms are not obvious. When bacteria invade the bloodstream (Meningococcaemia) or surround the brain and spinal cord lining (meningococcal meningitis), it can cause serious illness and even cause death. Meningococcal infection is not widespread, and therefore it is not included in children vaccines program. However, when there are outbreaks of diseases across China, it is recommended that if your children or relatives need frequent travel to the Mainland, they can consider this vaccine for protection.
Risk of infection
The risk of infection is higher among close contacts of patients with meningococcal infections. Certain patients with defective immune systems are also at higher risk. Other risk factors include antecedent viral infection, overcrowding, chronic illness, and active and passive smoking.
In general, the risk of acquiring meningococcal infection while travelling is low. However, in sub-Saharan Africa extending from Mali to Ethiopia, particularly in the savanna during the dry season (December to June), disease occurrence is higher, and there is additional risk for visitors who travel "rough" such as backpackers, and those who need to live or work with local people.
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