What is this pathology?


  • Meningococcus does not survive in the external environment.
  • Its transmission is human-to-human and requires close contact – less than one meter – and prolonged.

A patient with an invasive meningococcal infection died on Friday September 2 in Ajaccio, according to the Corsica Regional Health Agency. He suffered from the most severe form of this disease, called purpura fulminans. “The ars has ensured that all people identified as at-risk contacts have received antibiotic treatment to prevent the occurrence of new cases, can we read in the communicated. To date, no other cases of invasive meningococcal disease have been reported”.

What is this disease?

Meningococci are bacteria normally found in the throat and nose of many people. “Most often, meningococci do not cause any particular illnesses, but in some cases they can cause very serious illnesses such as meningitis or septicemia”, can we read on the Ministry of Health website. These diseases can be fatal or leave significant sequelae, such as deafness, neurological damage, amputations and skin scars.

Meningococcal meningitis and sepsis

We speak of meningitis when the meningococcus infects the fluid and membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. In contrast, meningococcal septicemia is a generalized infection: meningococcal causes a generalized infection of the blood and various organs. The most serious form is purpura fulminans and it is usually a life-threatening emergency.


The main symptoms are a high and poorly tolerated fever, the appearance of red or purplish spots and an overall poor state of health.

What treatments?

Usually, an invasive meningococcal infection is treated with several antibiotics. But, to be effective, it must be administered quickly.

In prevention, the meningococcal C vaccine is now compulsory for all infants born since January 1, 2018, with an injection at the age of 5 months and a second injection at the age of 12 months. In addition, since April 2022, it is also recommended to vaccinate all infants between 2 months and 2 years against invasive meningococcal B infections.

Some numbers

According Public Health France, there are 500 cases of invasive meningococcal infections per year, including 50 to 60 deaths. The most affected are infants, young children and young adults under the age of 24.

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