All the facts and statistics

What you should know:

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.