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Meningococcal Disease
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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening illness. It is caused by bacteria that infect the blood, brain, and spinal cord. It is one of the most serious causes of meningitis.
The disease is spread person-to-person. It is easily spread in crowded settings. You can catch meningitis from a person who looks healthy.
Even with proper treatment, 10% to 15% of people with meningococcal disease die. Of the people who survive, as many as 20% suffer from some serious complication, such as loss of an arm or leg, brain damage, or permanent hearing loss. Meningitis can cause shock, coma, and death within hours of the first symptom.
The disease most often strikes older teens and young adults. If you travel internationally or have certain medical conditions, you may also be at risk.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent meningitis.
Meningococcal Vaccine Schedule
Vaccination is the best way to prevent meningitis. There are different types of meningococcal vaccines: MenACWY (conjugate), MenB (serogroup B), and MPSV4 (polysaccharide) vaccines. MenACWY is given to preteens and teens at age 11 or 12 years. A booster dose is needed at 16 years. Teens and young adults age 16 through 23 years may also be given MenB. People of all ages with certain medical conditions (particularly lack of a functioning spleen) should be vaccinated and some should receive booster doses throughout life. Travelers to certain countries should also get vaccinated.
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Trusted Websites
Meningococcal Disease Information
Meningococcal Disease Information
Find in-depth information about the disease, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
>> signs and symptoms
>> meningococcal disease: help prevent it
National Meningitis Association
National Meningitis Association
NMA is a nonprofit organization founded by parents whose children have died or suffered long-term disabilities from meningococcal meningitis. The website includes meningitis news by state, as well as video accounts of meningococcal meningitis.
Voices of Meningitis
Voices of Meningitis
Listen and learn how to help protect your family from meningitis. From the National Association of School Nurses
Meningitis Angels
Meningitis Angels
Meningitis Angels is a nonprofit organization composed of survivors and families of meningitis victims. They offer information and support to families affected by meningitis.
A Look at Each Vaccine: Meningococcal Vaccine
A Look at Each Vaccine: Meningococcal Vaccine
Questions and answers about the disease and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center
View all diseases and vaccines
Video Library
Video: It's the Right Thing to Do
It's the Right Thing to Do: NMA M.O.M.s (Moms on Meningitis) encourage parents to get their children vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends meningococcal vaccination against serogroups A, C, W, and Y for all children aged 11-12 with a booster at age 16.
>> view all meningococcal videos
Personal Testimonies
Stories of suffering and loss from meningococcal disease
Meningitis: Big Dread On Campus
The Laughter of Our Hearts: Losing a Teen to a Vaccine-preventable Disease
Ordinary College Student Shares Horror of Meningitis
In Memory of Ryan Milley
>> view all personal testimonies
More Meningococcal Information
Meningococcal: Make sure your child is protected
Meningococcal: Make sure your child is protected (IAC)
1-page summary for parents
>> Spanish-language
Protect Yourself from Meningococcal
Protect Yourself from Meningococcal (IAC)
1-page summary for teens and adults
>> Spanish-language
Meningococcal Questions & Answers
Meningococcal Q&As (IAC)
Meningococcal disease and vaccine information
Meningococcal: Overview for Parents
Overview for Parents (CDC)
Frequently asked questions
>> Spanish-language
Meningococcal Fact Sheet
What You Should Know (VEC)
Meningococcal Q&A fact sheet
>> Spanish-language
Meningococcal Photos
Some of the images are quite graphic
>> view meningococcal photos
 
This page was updated on October 26, 2016.
This page was reviewed on October 26, 2016.
Immunization Action Coalition  •  2550 University Avenue West  •  Suite 415 North  •  Saint Paul, Minnesota  •  55114
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.