Some types of meningococcal disease can be prevented by vaccination. Immunisation against the meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains is recommended as part of the Queensland Immunisation Schedule at 12 months of age. It is also offered to students in Year 10 through the School Immunisation Program and for adolescents aged 15 – 19 years through their doctor or regular immunisation provider.
Meningococcal B vaccine is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. People of all ages with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of meningococcal disease are also eligible for meningococcal vaccines.
To prevent spreading when a case is identified, public health authorities will advise contacts of the infected person. If necessary, they will prescribe a short course of antibiotics or advise them if they should be vaccinated. Generally, this is only required for household and close contacts. As antibiotics and vaccination may not always prevent meningococcal disease, all contacts need to be alert for symptoms for 2 weeks after their last contact with the infected person. If any symptoms develop, it is important to seek urgent medical advice.
Anyone who has been in contact with a person with meningococcal disease is able to attend childcare, school, work, and other activities, whether or not they have received antibiotics or vaccination.
As smoking increases the chance of someone carrying the bacteria and spreading it to others, it is especially important not to smoke around young children who are particularly vulnerable to meningococcal disease.