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.
About the DiseaseRisk factors, causes and transmission, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, prevention, photos...
Meningococcal VaccinationInformation on vaccines that protect against meningococcal disease, vaccination coverage...
SurveillanceSurveillance systems, disease trends…
Clinical InformationCauses of meningococcal disease, technical and clinical information, vaccine resources...
Meningococcal OutbreaksOutbreak definition, control measures including vaccination and prophylaxis...
Laboratory InformationCDC's Bacterial Meningitis Laboratory and reference lab, laboratory methods for meningitis diagnosis...
Meningococcal Disease in Other CountriesGlobal meningococcal disease, epidemics in Africa, CDC response globally...
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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.
- 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.
- Page last reviewed: March 28, 2017
- Page last updated: March 28, 2017
- Content source:
- Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases