Meningitis Now

What news is there on the possible genetic link?

I want to try to find out more about the possiblity that there is a genetic predisposition to contracting meningitis. My husband had it as a child, our oldest son died of it at 17 and his sister contracted it almost exactly a year later at 16 but thankfully without becoming too seriously ill thanks to our anxiety and the quick work of th hospital in response. We have two other children and it feels that there may be a propensity to the disease. We would like to know more about the trials that were being carried out but more importantly whether there is any way to let health services know to take 'flu' type symptoms seriously in our kids just in case. My younger daughter goes to uni next year and I am fearful for her - and indeed for them all. Any info / views welcome

1 Reply


I am so sorry to hear of the impact meningitis has had on your family and understand your concern re a possible genetic predisposition.

There is a condition call “complement deficiency” which can be hereditary. The complement system consists of a group of proteins found in the blood. These proteins form an important part of our immune system. If one or more “complement proteins” are lacking, this can leave the individual susceptible to infections such as meningococcal meningitis. I will send you a personal message giving further information.

Recent research, undertaken at Imperial College, London, has also pointed to genetic factors being important in explaining why some people are more likely to contract meningococcal meningitis than others. Further information about this study can be found here:

With regards to your daughter make sure that she (and her friends) one of our symptoms cards and knows what to do if she is concerned. Our symptoms cards can be ordered from our website.

If there is anything else we can do to help, please let us know,



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