Meningococcal disease – invasive

Find out how we define and monitor cases of meningococcal disease, how you can get vaccinated, and where you can learn more about this disease.

About meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is a contagious disease caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcal bacteria). It can develop quickly, and it can be fatal. Anyone with a suspected meningococcal infection needs to see a doctor immediately.

Meningococcal disease is a medical emergency. It can kill within hours, so early diagnosis and treatment is vital. Do not wait for the purple rash to appear as that is a late stage of the disease. See healthdirect for symptoms of meningococcal disease.

Disease type:
Vaccination available under NIP:
Notifiable disease:


Meningococcal disease can be prevented with vaccination.

If you're eligible, you can get meningococcal vaccines for free under the National Immunisation Program. See more information about when to get vaccinated.  


Find out more about getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

For information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's meningococcal disease page.

Surveillance and reporting

Meningococcal disease is a nationally notifiable disease.

We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and report data annually in our meningococcal disease public dataset.

For more on meningococcal disease in Australia, you can search Communicable Diseases Intelligence

Date last updated:

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