Invasive Meningococcal Disease: What You Need To Know

Last updated May 2023.

If you're coming to university, you need to be aware of Invasive Meningococcal Disease symptoms, treatment and prevention. 

  • Most prevalent type of meningococcal disease in ages 15-24.  
  • Vaccine for Meningitis B is not included with the publicly funded vaccinations delivered during high school (ACWY or meningitis C strains) 

  • Symptoms start and progress quickly within 24 to 48 hours to serious, possibly life-threatening conditions, with death occurring in 1 in 10 people infected  

  • Meningococcal B signs/symptoms can mimic other illnesses making it difficult to diagnose in time to prevent serious complications.

Signs/Symptoms include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Bad headache
  • Sudden fever
  • Moodiness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Rapidly spreading rash that starts as dark reddish/purplish spots that can appear anywhere on the skin  

How it spreads: 

  • Coughing and sneezing 
  • Smoking 
  • Kissing or close physical contact 
  • Sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses 
  • Living in close quarters 

We encourage incoming students to check whether they have/have not received the vaccination for Meningitis B. Most private insurance plans will cover the cost. If unable to receive your vaccine prior to coming to the University of Guelph, Student Health Services can provide this and students may then get reimbursed through private insurance plans. 

Connect with Health Services:

Location: J.T. Powell Building, 168 Reynolds Walk, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd. E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 52131 (8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday)
Follow us on Instagram: @wellness_uofg



Government of Canada (February 2019). Don't Wait, Vaccinate! Invasive Meningococcal Disease Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: Accessed on April 18, 2023 

GSK: Bexaro Canada (2023). About Meningitis B Retrieved from: . Accessed on April 18, 2023.  

Meningococcal vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide (December 2022). Retrieved from: Accessed on April 18, 2023 

Ministry of Health of Ontario (March 2023). Retrieved from: . Accessed on April 18, 2023. 

Public Health Agency of Ontario (March 2023). Invasive Meningococcal Disease. Retrieved from: Accessed on: April 18, 2023.