This guideline covers recognising, diagnosing and managing bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) in babies, children and young people under 16. It aims to reduce deaths and disability by promoting early recognition of symptoms and timely effective management.

In February 2015, reference to throat swabs was removed from recommendation 1.3.14, to bring it in line with Public Health England’s guidance for public health management of meningococcal disease in the UK.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Under 16s with bacterial meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia, and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in October 2018 and we are updating it.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines