Meningococcal Disease and Travel


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Abstract

Invasive meningococcal disease, in both endemic and epidemic forms, is the cause of significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite all advances in therapy, the fatality rate of meningococcal meningitis remains unacceptably high, between 5% and 10%, and a similar proportion suffers long-term neurological sequalae. Prevention of this rapidly fatal disease is of paramount importance. The use of the available internationally licensed meningococcal vaccines would be indicated for individuals with medical conditions that increase the risk of the disease and for travelers to high-risk countries. In the last 2 years, there has been a shift in the epidemic pattern of meningococcal disease during the Hajj (pilgrimage) season, with predominance of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135. Recent changes have been made in the policy issued by the Saudi Ministry of Health (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), which requires visitors from all over the world arriving for purposes of umra and Hajj to show evidence of vaccination against meningitis with the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine.

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