Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

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....


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...


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.

Offers comprehensive information about meningococcal vaccines and other educational tools.

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)


Meningococcal Photos

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


Images and logos on this website which are trademarked/copyrighted or used with permission of the trademark/copyright or logo holder are not in the public domain. These images and logos have been licensed for or used with permission in the materials provided on this website. The materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of trademarked/copyrighted images or logos requires permission from the trademark/copyright holder...more

External Web Site Policy This graphic notice means that you are leaving an HHS Web site. For more information, please see the Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO
Compartir The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #