The disease


What are meningitis and septicaemia?

Meningitis and septicaemia are diseases that can kill in hours.

  • Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
  • Septicaemia is the blood poisoning form of the disease.
  • The two forms of the disease have different symptoms
People who recover from meningitis and septicaemia may be left with a range of after effects that dramatically alter their lives.

Meningitis is usually bacterial or viral. Septicaemia is usually bacterial.

  • Viral meningitis can be very unpleasant but it is almost never life threatening and most people quickly make a full recovery.
  • Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia can kill and can be caused by a range of different bacteria.

Millions of people have already been affected by meningitis and septicaemia around the world.

  • Babies and children under five and young people are especially vulnerable but anyone of any age can be affected.

How can I prevent meningitis and septicaemia?

Vaccines offer excellent protection against meningitis and septicaemia. But vaccines are not  yet available for all types of meningitis and septicaemia or in all parts of the world.

Until we have vaccines for all types of meningitis and septicaemia available to all, it is vital to know the symptoms - it could save a life.

Find out more about vaccination against meningitis and septicaemia

After Effects


Most people who get meningitis and septicaemia survive, often without any after effects, but sometimes these diseases cause a range of disabilities and problems that can alter people's lives.

After effects may be temporary or permanent, physical or emotional.

The after effects of meningitis and septicaemia.

Recovering from childhood bacterial meningitis and septicaemia

Pushing the Boundaries - Life beyond limb loss

Meningitis Research Foundation in Ireland

Ireland has the highest prevalence of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia in Europe.

Find out more about our work combatting meningitis and septicaemia in Ireland and how you can help

The symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia

Meningitis and septicaemia can appear separately or together and have different symptoms.

Until we have vaccines for all types of meningitis and septicaemia available to all, it is vital to know the symptoms - it could save a life.

Isobel Hall
Meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease at 1

If she had not insisted on asking the doctor to come I might have died.

More stories

Our acclaimed resources for identifying and treating meningitis and septicaemia, and coping with the after effects