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What you should know:
l Meningitis is a common, seasonal disease that is contagious.
l It has two strains - viral and bacteria. The latter is deadly.
l Both strains can be spread by coughing, sneezing and intimate kissing.
l The bacteria survives for only a short time outside the body, so food and household appliances can not contain the germs.
l Men and children are more prone to bacterial meningitis.
l The disease is common among newly assembled adults under crowded conditions such as bars or nightclubs.
l There is a vaccine that protects against some forms of meningitis, but not all strains.
l About 50 cases of meningitis were reported in South Africa between January 2008 and March 2008 and 36 cases have been recorded during the same period this year.
l Overall reported cases were 53 across the country last year and nine people died.
l In 2007, 200 cases were recorded and 15 people died.
l In 2006, 171 cases were recorded and 27 people died.