Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterial infection and is spread by bodily fluids from coughing, sneezing and kissing. There are very few other bacteria that can kill someone within hours but this is one of them and cases of Meningococcal disease are increasing.
Those most at risk are children under 5 and people aged 15 to 24, smokers, people with suppressed immune systems and those living in crowded accommodation.
There are two vaccines available that cover the five main strains in Australia and, depending on age and location, these may be available free of charge. For more information consult your General Practitioner.