Signs and Symptoms of Meningococcal Rash | Era Health

Signs and Symptoms of Meningococcal Rash | Era Health

Rashes are common in our bodies. But it’s important to understand which rash is common and which is Meningococcal rash. If you suspect that the pink rash on your body is serious, this article will be useful for you. 


Welcome to our guide on recognizing the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease! Here, we will discuss the important signs of meningococcal Meningitis and Septicemia in easy terms. 


With this knowledge, you will understand whether you or your loved ones need to go for a full-body skin check


Signs and Symptoms of Meningococcal Disease | Era Health 

Signs and Symptoms

Before we start, we need to understand what meningococcal disease is. Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by ‘Neisseria meningitidis.’ This disease can be divided into two sections.

 One is Meningococcal Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Another one is Meningococcal Septicemia, which is a severe bloodstream infection. 


Symptoms of this disease can vary but generally include high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. 


In severe cases, a type of rash may develop. These rashes generally start from a small red or purple spot and quickly progress to larger patches. These rashes are known as meningococcal rashes.


Meningococcal disease can progress rapidly, and without proper medical attention, it can cause death within a very short period.

 Therefore, it’s very important to be aware of the symptoms of this disease so that you can seek medical attention at the right time.

Meningococcal meningitis

Meningococcal Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis. It generally occurs when the bacterial infection covers and inflames the protective membrane of the brain and spinal cord.


This disease progresses rapidly and leads to serious complications, including brain damage, hearing loss, meningococcal rashes, and even death. 


Therefore, recognizing the signs at the correct stage is crucial. 

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever:

 One of the most common symptoms of Meningococcal Meningitis is high fever. In Meningitis, the bacterial infection attacks the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, and in response, body temperature increases naturally, which causes high fever. 

  • Headache: 

Intense headache is another common symptom of Meningitis. Patients can suffer from continuous headaches, which may worsen over time. 

  • Stiff neck: 

Neck stiffness is a distinctive symptom of Meningitis. This stiffness occurs due to the inflammation of membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Patients find it challenging to turn their heads from side to side or touch their chin to their chest. 

There are often additional symptoms, such as

  • Nausea: 

Nausea often occurs in Meningitis as a result of the body’s response to the infection and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. 

  • Vomiting: 

Vomiting generally occurs in conjunction with nausea and can be a symptom of Meningitis. Due to the inflammation, the pressure within the skull increases, which may cause vomiting. 

  • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light): 

In Meningitis, inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord can irritate the nerves around the eyes. This will lead to photophobia. 

  • Altered mental status (confusion): 

In Meningitis, the patient’s cognitive function might be affected due to the inflammation of the brain. This might lead to confusion, including difficulty concentrating, understanding, or remembering information. 


Meningococcal Septicemia (aka meningococcemia):

 Meningococcal Septicemia or meningococcemia is a dangerous bloodstream infection caused by Neisseria meningitides. Meningitis primarily affects membranes around the brain and spinal cord. 


But Septicemia causes bacteria to spread throughout the bloodstream, leading to widespread inflammation and damage to blood vessels and organs.


 Meningococcal rashes, fever, and vomiting are common symptoms of this disease. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills: 

The body’s immune response to the bacterial infection leads to high fever and chills. 

  • Fatigue (feeling tired):

 The body’s effort to fight the infection can drain reserved energy and cause fatigue. 

  • Vomiting: 

Due to the body’s response to the infection, inflammation, and toxins released into the bloodstream, vomiting may occur. 

  • Cold hands and feet: 

Septicemia causes infection in the blood vessels, it causes poor circulation, leading to cold hands and feet. 

  • Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or abdomen (belly): 

Patients with meningococcal Septicemia can suffer from severe pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or abdomen. 

  • Rapid breathing: 

As the bacteria attack the bloodstream, it causes poor blood circulation in the body. Therefore, the body attempts to compensate for reduced oxygen delivery and causes rapid breathing. 


Inflammation of the intestines can lead to diarrhea. 

  • In the later stages, a dark purple rash: 

In the later stage of Septicemia, meningococcal rashes may occur. These rashes start from a red or purple spot, more like petechiae, and soon turn into purpura or patches.


Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection leading to Meningitis and Septicemia. This causes meningococcal rashes, high fever, body pain, severe headache, and many other symptoms in the patient’s body. 


Without immediate and proper medical treatment, this disease can cause death within a very short period. Therefore, the Australian government has identified it as a nationally notifiable disease. 


Immediate medical care can make a significant difference in outcomes. Additionally, vaccination is a crucial preventive against meningococcal rashes, especially for high-risk individuals and certain age groups. 


Recognizing the disease in an early stage can save lives. We can defeat this disease together by raising awareness and understanding the importance of early detection and vaccination.