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Understanding more about meningitis

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People are wary of hearing the word ‘meningitis’ and ‘meningococcal disease’ because of their seriousness. To give you more information, meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes two illnesses: meningitis – an infection of the membranes that cover the brain, and septicaemia – blood poisoning.

There are about 100 cases of the disease in New Zealand each year and it’s more prevalent in winter and spring.

It can affect anyone, but it’s more common in children under the age of five, teenagers, and young adults. Students in their first year of tertiary education living in hostel accommodation may also be at higher risk, as are those travelling to certain international destinations. Meningococcal disease can be spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Diagnosing and treating meningococcal disease is not easy so attempting to prevent it through immunisation is very important.


New Zealand has vaccines available which can protect you against up to half of the strains of meningococcal disease  for up to three to five years.

If you’re aged 16 or over you can be vaccinated against four strains of meningococcal disease at selected Unichem Pharmacies.

Come in to have a talk with your Pharmacist and find out if the vaccine is right for you.

To save time, avoid the paperwork by filling in your Meningococcal Pre-Vaccination Checklist online.

Click here

Mike – Pharmacist, Unichem Mainstreet Pharmacy, Taupo