If you’re heading to a high risk country, it’s good to be informed about meningococcal ACWY. Here we discuss the different types of the disease, who is most at risk, and vaccination.

What is meningococcal ACWY & how do you catch it?

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. Meningitis can be very serious if not treated quickly. It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

Signs and symptoms

While all of these may not occur or may occur in any order, if travelling to a high risk area, be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis as they can develop very suddenly. They can include the following:

  • High temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4F) or above
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it (this won’t always develop)
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Drowsiness or unresponsiveness


The meningitis ACWY vaccination is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease: A, C, W and Y. It’s offered to teenagers as part of routine school vaccination programs, and to university students under the age of 25 who missed the routine childhood vaccination.

How long does the meningitis ACWY vaccination last?

A booster dose is recommended after five years for those travellers who are at risk of the disease again. For Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, evidence of vaccination is required every five years for a visa application.

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Signs and symptoms

Those who have picked up the cholera bacteria don’t always have symptoms, but these are some of the typical symptoms you should expect:

• Severe, watery diarrhoea

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Stomach cramps

Cholera symptoms can occur after just after a few hours, but generally develop within a few days of picking up the infection. If untreated, dehydration from severe diarrhoea and vomiting can quickly take effect, causing the body to go into shock because of a big drop in blood pressure.


If you are travelling to a country known to be affected by cholera, here are a few ways you can help protect yourself:

• Only drink boiled or sealed bottled water

• Avoid ice in your drinks and ice creams

• Wash (in safe water) or peel uncooked fruit and vegetables

• Avoid shellfish, seafood and salads

Practice good personal hygiene measures – always wash your hands in safe water before eating and visiting the bathroom


The risk to most travellers is very low and vaccination is usually only recommended in the following circumstances:

• Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks are likely

• Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps or areas affected by natural disasters

• Those travelling to countries experienacing cholera outbreaks and where care with food and water is difficult or not possible

The drinkable cholera vaccine is given in two or three (depending on age) separate doses, taken from one to up to six weeks apart and completed at least a week before travelling.

Corporate Discount

We offer a 10% discount for our corporate customers and for all travellers in the charity sector. Whether you’re looking for corporate flu vaccinations or need travel vaccinations for your staff, our team of nurses and pharmacists can help. 

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