Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus [muh-ning-goh-KOK-us]. These illnesses are often severe and can be deadly. They include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
These bacteria spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit (e.g., by living in close quarters, kissing). Doctors treat meningococcal disease with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know
This page offers comprehensive information about meningococcal vaccines, including types and how well they work.
Meningococcal Vaccination: Information for Healthcare Professionals
These webpages give vaccine recommendations and contraindications; composition, immunogenicity, and efficacy; storage and handling; and administration details.
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines | Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines
These one-page CDC vaccine information statements explain who should get meningococcal conjugate vaccines or serogroup B meningococcal vaccines and when.
Five College Consortium
The Five College consortium in Massachusetts (MA) is experiencing an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease. The MA Department of Public health recommends vaccination to students at all five schools.
- Learn more from Amherst College.
- Learn more from Hampshire College.
- Learn more from Mount Holyoke College.
- Learn more from Smith College.
- Learn more from UMass Amherst.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University (OSU) has an ongoing outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease. Students should check with OSU about requirements to get vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. Learn more from OSU.
Risk of Meningococcal Disease When Taking Eculizumab (Soliris®)
Taking eculizumab (Soliris®) increases your risk for meningococcal disease. Even if you received meningococcal vaccines, you could still get meningococcal disease. Learn more about this risk factor.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease are usually sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It can start with symptoms similar to influenza (flu), and will often also cause nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, rash, and confusion.
- Page last reviewed: March 28, 2017
- Page last updated: April 9, 2018
- Content source:
- Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases