Donate online today. €40 funds 1 hour of a research project

General practice

Up to date meningitis information for you and your patients:

MenW: UK rise in cases

A deadly strain of MenW (Meningococcal W) disease is rising at an alarming rate in the UK.

The strain is causing meningitis and septicaemia across all age groups especially babies, healthy teenagers and young adults and has a higher death rate associated with it than other strains of meningococcal disease.

Government advisors, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), have concluded that the increase in MenW disease in England and Wales constitutes an outbreak situation. They have advised that a programme to immunise everyone aged 14-18 years of age should be implemented as soon as is practicable in order to generate herd protection against MenW and prevent further rapid increases in disease amongst the rest of the population.

Public Health England is urgently trying to procure sufficient MenACWY vaccine to vaccinate those currently in Year 13 over the summer and is therefore asking GPs to delay the current MenC Freshers programme due to start in April until the MenACWY vaccine becomes available. This will avoid the need to revaccinate this group to provide additional protection against MenW. Health professionals are also urged to remain vigilant to the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and keep a high index of suspicion for the MenW strain.

Read more about the rise in MenW disease

Meningitis vaccine update

It has been a busy 12 months for meningitis prevention. In particular around meningococcal disease: the cause of around 50% of all bacterial meningitis:

MenC immunisation schedule

  • Babies at 3 months receive a single dose followed by a 12-month booster
  • Babies can receive either NeisVac-C® or Menjugate® at 3 months, but should not be vaccinated with Meningitec 
  • Teenagers now receive a booster dose at around 14 years of age 
The MenC immunisation schedule changed in July 2013 from 2+1 schedule at 3, 4 and 12 months of age to a single dose at 3 months followed by a 12 month booster and a teenage booster at around 14 years of age.

MenB vaccine

  • The new MenB vaccine is licensed in Europe and has been recommended for routine use in the UK
  • The Department of Health is working with the manufacturer GSK to secure supplies of the vaccine
  • Implementation of the vaccine as part of the routine immunisation schedule is estimated to be September 2015 at the earliest
  • The MenB vaccine is currently available privately for those who wish to protect their children

Proposed MenB programme

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended the vaccine to be introduced into the routine immunisation schedule to babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age with a catch up campaign for babies who are 3 and 4 months of age.

  • Babies aged 3 months will receive three doses at 3, 4 and 12 months of age
  • Babies aged 4 months receive two doses at 4 and 12 months
Babies and children who are older than 4 months by the time the vaccine is rolled out will not be offered the vaccine on the NHS. It would remain available privately for parents and carers who want to immunise older children.

Read our comprehensive Men B vaccine factsheet

Information for your patients

Symptoms Resouces

NICE QS64 and QS19 both prioritise the provision of safety net advice for parents including information on when to seek further help if they have been advised to care for their feverish child at home. 
These commended resources can be useful for parents as part of the safety netting information provided by GPs:
Meningitis Baby Watch

Meningitis Baby Watch cards

The under fives are the most vulnerable age group. This card is included in around one third of all Personal Child Health Records (red books) given to new parents by local health authorities.

It helps parents and other carers, to recognise the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia in babies and very small children who cannot explain how they are feeling.

Tot Watch

Meningitis Tot Watch 

This leaflet gives the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia for the under fives, including the red flag symptoms.
Race Against Time

Race Against Time

A symptoms leaflet, which also addresses some of the myths that surround meningitis and septicaemia.
Symptoms card

Symptoms card

Recovering from meningitis and septicaemia resources

Some of your patients may have recovered from bacterial meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia. We can support them. Help us to help them by passing on our resources. Order or download the free resources:

Support for you

The support we can offer your patients includes:
  • Offering a listening ear and support 
  • Answering their questions and providing information
  • Helping them navigate the disability rights and benefits system
  • Putting them in touch with telephone befrienders who have been through a similar experience
your Guide

Your Guide: Recovering from childhood bacterial meningitis and septicaemia

The meningitis charities have produced information for parents which describes possible after effects, expected recovery patterns and how to access further care and support.


Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia - Guidance Notes for GPs

Download the Booklet

Order online

Endorsed by the BMA and produced in line with the NICE Bacterial Meningitis and Meningococcal Septicaemia Guideline102.

Childhood fever: NICE update

  • NICE have produced a new quality standard for feverish illness in children 
  • NICE's feverish illness in children clinical guidance has been updated to include raised heart rate in the traffic light system for identifying risk of serious illness in children
Read the following Clinical Guidelines (CG) and Quality Standard (QS):
  • CG160 
    Feverish illness in children: Assessment and initial management in children younger than 5 years. Clinical Guideline (CG) 160 and Quality Standard (QS) 64. This guideline was updated and replaced NICE clinical guideline 47 (published May 2007) in May 2013
  • QS64 
    Produced in July 2014 and identifies four high priority areas for improvement in the assessment of feverish illness in children
  • CG102 and QS19
    Bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia: Management of bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in children and young people younger than 16 years in primary and secondary care.
Joshua and Dillon Davies
Meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease at Joshua 5 months and Dillon 6 weeks

Then we went through the whole thing again just like with Josh but Dillon had...

More stories