High-risk groups

Bacterial meningitis can be severe and fatal and therefore requires immediate antibiotic treatment. If you notice symptoms of meningitis, do not delay, consult a doctor or go to the accident and emergency department immediately.

Who is at risk of having meningitis?

In Belgium, meningitis is most frequent in:

  • children under 5
  • adolescents, young adults and the elderly (pneumococcal meningitis)
  • people that are part of a group: boarding school, school environments, sports clubs, military camps, large rallies (e.g. demonstrations, pilgrimages). 
  • immunodepressed people (HIV, genetic diseases).

Sciensano hosts the National Reference Centre (NRC) which provides epidemiological monitoring for the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) and Listeria monocytogenes (listeria). The Belgian Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL) of Sciensano, together with the European OMCL network, is responsible for the quality control of the meningitis vaccine prior to marketing.


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