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Fifteen-minute consultation: Symptoms and signs of meningococcal disease
  1. Michael Corr1,
  2. Thomas Waterfield2,
  3. Michael Shields2
  1. 1 Paediatrics, Queen's University Belfast School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Waterfield, Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK; thomas.waterfield{at}


Meningococcal disease remains a leading cause of meningitis, sepsis and death in children worldwide and in the UK. Successful vaccination programmes in the UK have, however, significantly reduced the burden of disease in children. Unfortunately, despite vaccination, a significant number of children are still diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease each year.

As the prevalence of meningococcal disease falls, it is important that we maintain awareness of the symptoms and signs of meningococcal disease because the prompt recognition of this life-threatening infection improves outcomes.

In this article we discuss the pathology, epidemiology and recognition of invasive meningococcal disease in children. The aim is to maintain awareness of this rare but life-threatening infection.

  • medical education
  • paediatric
  • infectious diseases
  • meningitis
  • Meningococcal disease

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.