Invasive Meningococcal Disease
What are the risks of getting meningococcal meningitis?
Many healthy people carry the meningococcal bacterium in their nose and throat and can pass it to others. If the bacterium invades the body, it can cause invasive meningococcal disease.
Invasive meningococcal disease can cause death in up to 10% of infected people.
Up to one-third of survivors have permanent disabilities such as:
- brain damage
- problems with the nervous system and seizures
- amputation of one or more limbs
In Canada, less than 1 person in every 100,000 gets the disease. Those most at risk of invasive meningococcal disease are:
- children under 5 years old
- people living in crowded living quarters
- adolescents 15 to 18 years old
- travelers to areas where the disease is more common, such as the sub-Saharan African meningitis belt
- individuals with specific genetic risk factors
- those experiencing another respiratory tract infection (such as influenza)
- those with HIV infection
The Public Health Agency of Canada works closely with its national and international partners to track invasive meningococcal meningitis in Canada and around the world.
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