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Certain Medical Conditions as a Risk Factor

There are certain medical conditions and medications that may weaken the immune system and increase risk of meningococcal disease.

Persistent Complement Component Deficiencies

Ask your healthcare professional which meningococcal vaccines are recommended for you or your child.

People with a persistent complement component deficiency are recommended to receive both a quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®) and a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero® or Trumenba®) for protection against meningococcal disease. Complement component deficiencies refer to disorders of the ‘complement system,’ which helps the body fight off infections. Examples of complement component deficiencies include C3, C5-9, properdin, factor H, and factor D. These disorders are very rare and usually genetic. People who take Soliris® for treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) are also at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

Functional or Anatomic Asplenia

People with functional or anatomic asplenia are recommended to receive both a quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®) and a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero® or Trumenba®) for protection against meningococcal disease. Someone with anatomic asplenia does not have a spleen (for instance, if it was surgically removed), while functional asplenia is where someone has a spleen but it doesn’t work the way that it should. People with sickle cell anemia have functional asplenia. The spleen is an important organ for fighting meningococcal infections because it helps produce antibodies and filter bacteria.

HIV Infection

People who are infected with HIV are recommended to receive a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®) for protection against meningococcal disease caused by serogroups A, C, W, and Y. For HIV-infected people who get meningococcal disease, about 4 out of every 5 cases (80%) are due to serogroups C, W, and Y. A low CD4 count or high viral load increases risk of meningococcal disease for people who are infected with HIV.

Learn more about meningococcal vaccine recommendations.

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