It can kill in hours - and leave survivors with devastating after effects.
A campaigner from Sussex who had both lower legs amputated after contracting Meningitis B is urging parents, to take up the new, free vaccine for babies.
Diana Man, who almost died and spent six months in hospital after she was diagnosed - says the UK's new vaccination programme against the commonest form of the disease could change lives.
Our reporter Sarah Saunders went to Uckfield to meet her.
Doctors based at Southampton's university hospitals are trialling a new vaccine that could offer children across the UK “broad protection” against meningitis B.
The study, being conducted at the NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton General Hospital, will investigate the effectiveness of the vaccine in 50 children and young people between the ages of 10 and 18.
This strain of meningitis, known as serogroup B, is a highly aggressive bacterial infection that causes swelling of the brain and spinal cord and can lead to brain damage or blood poisoning.
Professor Saul Faust is a specialist in children's immunology and infectious diseases at Southampton General Hospital and has worked on the vaccine.
He said, “This is an extremely exciting study of a vaccine that could prove to provide broad protection against meningitis B, which is the major cause of brain inflammation and blood poisoning in the UK."
The Coneybeare family from Caversham are backing a national campaign for a new vaccine, after their daughter, Eleanor, lost her leg to meningitis.
They are supporting the Beat it Now campaign to ask the Government to introduce a new vaccine against Meningitis B - one of the deadliest forms of the disease - available to all children.
The new drug, Bexsero, is the first of its kind and received it licence for use in the UK in January. They also have the support of their MP, Rob Wilson (Con).