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There are a range of bugs and viruses that you can catch during sex. Learn about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), how to prevent them, how to diagnose them and how they are treated.

Meningococcal C

What is it?

Meningococcal C is a life-threatening bacterial infection which can enter the bloodstream through the lining of the throat.

How do you get it?

You can only get meningococcal C through close, prolonged contact with someone who has meningococcal C, or from deep kissing where you come into contact with the bacteria in the back of someone else’s throat.

What are the symptoms?

Meningococcal C causes a range of symptoms, many of which are flu-like. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you must seek urgent medical attention because meningococcal C can be life-threatening:

  • Sudden high fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Discomfort when looking at bright lights
  • Difficulty walking or a lack of ability to speak properly
  • A red or purple rash that looks like little pin pricks
  • Extremely sore limbs or muscles
Diagnosis and treatment

A doctor diagnoses meningococcal C by taking a blood sample and sometimes a sample of spinal fluid. Death occurs in around 10 per cent of people who get meningococcal C due to not seeking urgent medical treatment. An antibiotic injection of penicillin is usually given on the spot with admission to hospital for monitoring.

How do you prevent it?

The most effective way to prevent meningococcal C is to be vaccinated against it. Vaccination involves one injection which protects you against meningococcal C.