Neisseria meningitidis , or meningococcus, is a gram negative bacterium. It is, together with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, one of the main causes of bacterial meningitis. Most meningococcal infections are due to one of the following six serogroups (classified according to their capsular polysaccharide type): serogroup A, B, C, W-135, X and Y. The bacterium is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets or throat secretions. About 5-30% of people are asymptomatic carriers of the bacterium in the nasopharynx. Sometimes however, the bacteria can invade the blood or the cerebrospinal fluid, causing meningococcal disease. Most common manifestations of the disease are meningitis and/or severe blood infection, but the disease can also appear in less common forms like pneumonia or arthritis. Early detection and treatment are essential, since the incubation period is short (usually less than 4 days), the disease progresses quickly and the disease can be lethal or cause lifelong disability.
Similarly to other countries in Europe, most invasive meningococcal diseases are caused by serogroup B and C in Belgium. Vaccination against serogroup C has been introduced in the Belgian vaccination schedule since 2002. The number of cases has decreased after the introduction of vaccination, and now most invasive meningococcal diseases in Belgium are caused by serogroup B. Since 2013, a vaccine against serogroup B is available in Europe and is also available in Belgium since March 2017. At present, this vaccine is not included in the Belgian vaccination schedule and isn't reimbursed (situation on 01/03/2017). You can find more information on the following link: http://www.bcfi.be/nl/articles/2717?folia=2710#men
To know more:
Surveillance of meningococcal disease in Belgium in 2014
National Reference Centre
Number of confirmed invasive N. meningitidis infections between 2000 and 2014, Belgium. (Source: National reference centre for N. meningitidis, WIV-ISP.)
Number of invasive N. meningitidis infections by serogroup (B, C, other) between 2000 and 2014 , Belgium. (Data from the National reference centre, WIV-ISP.)
Invasive meningococcal disease is a notifiable disease in Belgium.
For more information on the disease, see the websites for notifiable diseases for the French and Flemish community.
General information :
ECDC general information
WHO general information
National Reference Centre
Basic vaccination schedule Wallonia
Basic vaccination schedule Flanders
Situation in Europe:
Situation in the world :
Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s principles and practice of infectious diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010.
Responsible scientist : Virginie Maes