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9.5.13: Public Education Topic: Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but very serious bacterial illness. It can cause long-term problems, like loss of limbs or brain damage, and be deadly. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal bacteria spread from person-to-person.

People spread the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease to others through respiratory droplets and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close (kissing) or lengthy (living together) contact to spread them.

Meningitis and bloodstream infection are common outcomes.

With meningococcal meningitis, the lining of the brain and spinal cord becomes infected and swells. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck.

There can be additional symptoms, such as

• Nausea and vomiting

• Eyes being more sensitive to light

• Confusion

Certain people are at increased risk:

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, no matter their gender, age, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. However, in the United States, people of some ages have a higher risk than people of other ages:

• Babies

• Teens and young adults (16- to 23-year-olds)

• Adults 65 years or older

Having certain medical conditions, going to college, or traveling to certain countries can increase someone’s risk for getting this disease.

Meningococcal disease is very serious but treatable.

Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics. It’s important that treatment be started as soon as possible. Meningococcal disease can be deadly in a matter of hours.

CDC recommends vaccination for preteens, teens, and others.

There are two types of vaccines that help protect against meningococcal disease: MenACWY and MenB vaccines.

Click the link below to learn more:

Meningococcal Disease-February 28, 2023 (

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