World Meningitis Day Date in the current year: October 5, 2024

World Meningitis Day World Meningitis Day is observed annually to raise awareness about a widespread disease that can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender or country of origin and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Originally observed on April 24, it was moved to October 5 in 2022.

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes enveloping the spinal cord and brain. It may be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or non-infectious causes such as certain drugs, cancer, a number of inflammatory conditions and connective tissue disorders, cysts, and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Typical symptoms of meningitis are headache, fever, and stiff neck. A severe headache is the most common symptom of meningitis in adults. Other symptoms can include drowsiness and confusion, nausea, vomiting, seizures, sensitivity to light or loud noises, and rash. Not all people affected by meningitis get all symptoms, and the symptoms can occur in any order.

Meningitis is considered a medical emergency because of its proximity to the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is a potentially life-threatening disease that has a high mortality rate if untreated or not treated immediately, whereas viral meningitis is rarely fatal. The treatment of meningitis depends on its cause: bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics, viral meningitis requires supportive therapy, etc.

The good news about bacterial meningitis is that it is preventable. Vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), meningococcus, pneumococcus, and mumps protect from some of the most common forms of meningitis.

World Meningitis Day was established in 2009 by the Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMO), an international member organization dedicated to reducing the incidence of meningitis worldwide. It brings together organizations, health professionals, patient groups, and meningitis survivors and their families from 40 countries to raise awareness of the disease and promote vaccination.

World Meningitis Day was originally observed on April 24, but it was moved to October 5 in 2022 in order to allow more people to participate and support WHO’s initiative to defeat meningitis by 2030 by achieving three goals: eliminating the epidemics of bacterial meningitis, significantly reducing the cases of and deaths from vaccine-preventable meningitis, and improving quality of life and reducing disability after meningitis.

You can observe World Meningitis Day by educating yourself about the disease, participating in a World Meningitis Day event near you or organizing an event on your own, donating to an organization that supports meningitis patients, and spreading the word by wearing a burgundy awareness ribbon and/or posting on social media with the hashtag #WorldMeningitisDay.

If you’ve ever had meningitis, cared for someone with the disease, or lost a loved one to meningitis, you can post about your experience on social media to raise awareness of meningitis and its severity (of course, only if you’re comfortable doing it).

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World Meningitis Day, international observances, awareness days, meningitis awareness, bacterial meningitis