Vaccines and Preventable Diseases:
Factsheet: Meningococcal Disease and Meningococcal Vaccine
(April 2, 2013)
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- Invasive meningococcal disease occurs in three common clinical forms: meningitis (50% of cases), blood infection (30%) and pneumonia (10%); other forms account for the remainder (10%) of the cases.
- Onset can be abrupt and course of disease rapid.
- Case fatality ratio is 10%-15%; 11%-19% of survivors suffer serious sequelae (a condition caused by previous disease) including neurologic disability, limb or digit loss, and hearing loss.
- Rates highest in infancy with second peak in adolescence (see graph below) with the peak around 18 years of age
- Annually, about 800–1,200 cases of invasive meningococcal disease occur in the US.
- 21% of cases occurs among adolescents and young adults ages 14–24
- 14% of cases occurs among infants under 1 year of age
- College freshmen living in dormitories are at higher risk than general population of similar age
- Most cases are sporadic (98%); a minority is associated with outbreaks (2%)
- Disease is seasonal, with cases peaking in December and January.
- Meningococci are carried only by humans in the nasopharynx—their only reservoir
- Overall 5%-10% of the population carries the bacteria
- Adolescents and young adults have the highest carriage rates
- Few carriers develop disease
- Transmission occurs when close, face-to-face contact permits the exchange of salivary secretions from people who are ill or are carriers
- Worldwide, the vast majority of disease is caused by 5 serogroups (A, B, C, Y, W-135) of the bacterium
- In the United States, almost all cases are caused by serogroups B, C and Y; there is currently no licensed vaccine that protects against serogroup B in the U.S.
- Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines are licensed in the United States for persons 9 months–55 years of age
- Covers Serogroups A, C, Y and W-135
- Included in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program
- Cost to private sector per dose: $100.00-$110.00
- See MCV4 recommendations for who should be vaccinated
- Bivalent meningococcal along with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine is licensed for infants 6 weeks-18 months of age
- Covers serogroups C and Y only
- Included in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program for those at high-risk
- Licensed in 1981
- Recommendations for use: MPSV4 is recommended for individuals who are at elevated risk aged over 55 years (see MCV4 recommendations for list of groups at elevated risk)
- Recommendations from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Publications and Multimedia for Meningococcal Disease
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Content last reviewed on April 2, 2013
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases