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Meningococcal Disease

 Patient in hospital with doctors.

Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus [muh-ning-goh-KOK-us]. The illness most people are familiar with is meningococcal meningitis, which people sometimes just call meningitis. This usually means the lining of the brain and spinal cord have become infected with these bacteria. But these bacteria can also cause other severe illnesses, like bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).

Meningococcus bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit (e.g., by living in close quarters, kissing). Although it can be very serious, meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics that prevent severe illness and reduce the spread of infection from person to person. Quick medical attention is extremely important if meningococcal disease is suspected. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not coming into close contact with people who are sick, can also help.

Meningococcal Topics

group of teenagers.About Meningococcal Disease

Risk factors, causes and transmission, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention, photos...

Image of lady getting a vaccineMeningococcal Vaccination

Information on getting vaccinated....

Surveillance.Surveillance

Meningococcal disease is a reportable condition in all states...

Portrait of a doctor with a stethoscope Clinical Information

Causes of meningococcal disease, technical and clinical information, vaccine resources...

TeensOutbreaks

Almost all cases of meningococcal disease are sporadic...

Scientist with test tubesLaboratory Information

CDC's Meningitis Laboratory and reference lab...

Country mapMeningococcal Disease in Other Countries

Global meningococcal disease, epidemics in Africa...

Dictionary.Publications & Multimedia

Publications, web features, podcasts, e-Cards, print materials...

Meningococcal Vaccination

What You Need to Know
This one-page CDC vaccine information statement explains who should get meningococcal vaccine and when.

Q&As on Serogroup B Vaccine
Review answers to some common questions about the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.

Basics
Offers comprehensive information about meningococcal vaccines and other educational tools.

Safety
As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue or a vague feeling of discomfort.

Prevention Recommendations
Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

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Meningococcal Photos


Photos of the bacterium that causes meningococcal disease and images of patients.Photos of a Bacterium That Can Cause the Disease.

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