Neisseria meningitides causes systemic infections like meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia which are bacterial infections. Neisseria meningitides is only found in humans. Neisseria meningitidis is present with the normal flora of the mouth in the back of the throat or nose and will seldom cause disease. It is hard to explain why some individuals carry the bacteria without them getting affected while others contract meningococcal disease. About 10% of the general population will be affected by Neisseria meningitidis, with the utmost carriage (roughly 25%) in 15-19 year olds. It is transmitted from individual to individual by inhaling respiratory secretions from the mouth and throat or by direct contact. Close long standing contact is usually needed to transmit the bacteria. They can’t survive for long outside the body (HPA 2011).
Premature signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease may be vague and thus hard to differentiate from influenza or other diseases. Premature symptoms comprise of fever, vomiting, malaise and lethargy (HPA 2011). The normal incubation period is four days, but can vary between 2-10 days (WHO 2011).
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where maximum cases are usually found, it is called the meningitis belt, the belt is starts from Senegal which is in the west of the country to Ethiopia which lies in the east. Group A meningococcus shares an estimated 80-85% of all the cases in this belt, with epidemics taking place every 7-14 years. During the epidemic season of 2009, 14 African countries using enhanced surveillance reported 88199 suspected cases, which included 5352 deaths, a record number since the 1996 epidemic (WHO 2011).
In the UK, meningococcal meningitis is rare, but persists to be the leading infectious disease causing death among children (Nice 2007) despite the achievement of having and effective vaccine against meningococcal C. Reduced quality of life is seen among one in five survivors (Erickson L and De Wals P 2008) and roughly one in seven survivors develop neurological or sensory disability, amputation or tissue loss, or other permanent damage (Fellick JM et al 2001). It is more rampant in winter season and may be seen after an outbreak of influenza (Cartwright KA et al 1991). A child under five years of age and adolescents are most likely to be affected and is augmented by contact with a case (Hastings L et al 1997).
This paper will analyse Meningitis in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA). The main objective is to focus on the gaps in the current programmes and bring about a unique perspective to observed Meningitis infection by understanding the epidemiology, analyse the biological social and environmental factors determining the rates of infectious disease, mortality and morbidity rates, prevention and control measures used in the UK with those used in USA, evaluate current legislation concerning meningitis in UK and USA and discuss about any...