FAQs on COVID-19 and meningitis

At Meningitis Now we appreciate that this is a very worrying time for everyone. Many of you naturally have concerns and questions around COVID-19

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This is a quickly changing situation and we urge you to keep up to date with the latest guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The Meningitis Now helpline has been receiving a number of enquiries around the impact of COVID-19 and meningitis. As everyone’s experience of meningitis is so different, we are unable to comment on an individual’s health status, and we are not able to give medical advice. However, our nurse-led helpline can provide information, reassurance and a listening ear.

COVID-19 and meningitis

Am I more at risk of catching COVID-19 after suffering from meningitis?

COVID-19 is a new disease and everyone is at risk. There is no specific research on the risk to people who have suffered from meningitis.

Some groups of people have been identified as having an increased risk of serious illness, should they contract COVID-19. View the latest Government information

The government has also identified a smaller group of extremely vulnerable people who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This is the latest information.

COVID-19 and meningitis with sepsis

Am I more at risk if I suffered from sepsis as part of my meningitis experience?

Some bacteria that can cause meningitis can also cause sepsis (septicaemia). For anyone who has suffered from sepsis e.g. meningococcal sepsis, please read the following information provided by The Sepsis Trust

“Evidence suggests that, for a period of time following sepsis, some survivors can be more prone to developing further infections, and therefore have an increased risk of readmission with infective complications (including sepsis). These people may be at increased risk of severe illness if they acquire COViD-19. If, since your illness with sepsis, you have been well and not experienced repeated infections or problems with your immunity then the impact of a COViD-19 infection is likely to be same the same of the majority of the population – in other words, a relatively mild illness.”

Coronavirus and viral meningitis

Can the coronavirus cause viral meningitis?

The coronavirus is a respiratory virus affecting the lungs and airways. Many viruses can cause meningitis but we do not yet know whether the coronavirus will cause viral meningitis. We will be monitoring the situation closely.

Concerned someone may have meningitis

I am worried that someone may have meningitis, but I am worried about getting urgent medical advice with the current pandemic

Meningitis is a life threatening condition requiring urgent diagnosis and treatment. During this pandemic, our advice remains the same, if you think someone has meningitis, do not delay, seek urgent medical advice by calling NHS 111 or your GP surgery. In an emergency dial 999.

Always know the signs and symptoms.

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Should my child still receive their routine vaccinations that protect against meningitis?

It is vital for babies and children to continue to receive their vaccinations, following the routine immunisation schedule. This will ensure that your child is protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, including some of the major causes of meningitis. Ensuring everyone is up to date with their vaccines will also help the current COVID-19 pandemic by avoiding outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and putting further pressure on the NHS.

If your baby or child is due any routine vaccinations please check with your GP surgery for current arrangements. Many GP surgeries will have this information online. Currently, GP surgeries are operating a ‘triage’ system for all queries and appointments.

If you have any further questions relating specifically to meningitis vaccinations then please call our Helpline team on 0808 80 10 388 or Email Helpline@meningitisnow.org.