Meningococcal muh-nin-jo-kok-ul disease is a very serious bacterial infection that most often causes severe swelling of the protective lining around the brain and spinal cord meningitis or infection of the bloodstream meningococcal sepsis. In its early stages, meningococcal disease symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, and a stiff neck. These symptoms may be mild and easily mistaken for less severe illnesses, like a bad cold.
These include:. People who have had only minor exposure to someone with meningococcal disease have a very low risk of developing the disease. Healthcare workers are not at increased risk unless they have been directly exposed to a case's nasopharyngeal secretions for example, if they performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or intubated the case without using a face mask.
Meningococcal muh-nin-jeh-KOK-el disease used to cause thousands of serious infections every year. Thanks to vaccines, there are fewer cases of meningococcal disease in the United States than ever before. Meningococcal disease is rare, but people do get it — and teens, young adults, and people with certain health conditions are at increased risk. Meningococcal disease can cause serious infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord or the blood.
CDC recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens. In certain situations, CDC also recommends other children and adults get a meningococcal vaccine. Below is more information about which meningococcal vaccines CDC recommends for people by age.
College studentsespecially freshmen who live in dorms and military recruits, are at an increased risk for meningococcal disease caused by serogroups C and Y compared with others in this age group. Though there have been a number of meningococcal serogroup B outbreaks on college campuses in the past decade, college students are not at increased risk for meningococcal serogroup B disease. It's important to know how to protect yourself because meningococcal disease can be deadly.
The Department of Health today reported that an adult is currently recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with serogroup B meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease usually occurs more commonly in winter and spring and most cases this year have been reported since July. The Department of Health routinely identifies the close contacts of all notified cases of meningococcal disease and provides them with information, and, where appropriate, antibiotics and a vaccine.
Learn more below about which of these vaccines are recommended for adolescents, adults, and infants and children. These patients may still contract meningococcal disease despite being fully vaccinated or receiving antimicrobial prophylaxis. Learn more about managing patients who receive complement inhibitors.
Invasive meningococcal disease IMD caused by Neisseria meningitidis is characterized by high mortality and morbidity. Effective vaccines are available for 5 of 6 disease-causing serogroups. Meningococcal disease is caused by the obligate human bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.