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Travel as a Risk Factor

Man traveling.

Vaccination against meningococcal disease is not a requirement for travel to any country except Saudi Arabia, where travelers to Mecca during the annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage must have proof of meningococcal vaccination in the last 3 years.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends vaccination for meningococcal disease to persons who travel to or reside in countries in which the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis is hyperendemic or epidemic, particularly if they will be in close contact with the local population.

The meningococcal conjugate vaccine is preferred for people 2 months through 55 years of age. The meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine is the recommended vaccine for travelers 56 years and older. Infants who start getting this vaccine at 2 months of age will need four doses of Menveo® before traveling. Children ages 7 through 23 months will need two doses of either Menveo® or Menactra® before traveling. Infants and children who received MenHibrix® and are traveling should receive a quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (Menveo® or Menactra®) before travel. Travelers who have been vaccinated previously for meningococcal disease, but remain at increased risk should receive booster doses. Talk with your healthcare provider about your specific situation.

Vaccination is recommended for persons traveling to the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa during the dry season (December through June). Advisories for travelers to other countries will be issued when epidemics of meningococcal disease caused by vaccine-preventable serogroups are recognized.

For more information on meningococcal vaccine recommendations for travelers, visit the meningococcal section of the CDC Travelers’ Health web site.

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