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What is meningococcal disease?
- Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.
- It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years of age in U.S.
- Meningococcal disease can be very serious, even life-threatening in 48 hours or less.
- The two most severe and common illnesses caused by meningococcal bacteria include; o Meningitis - an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord o Septicemia - a bloodstream infection
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms of meningococcal disease are similar to influenza (flu) and may include:
- Sudden onset of a high fever o Increased sensitivity to light
- Headache o Rash
- Stiff neck o Confusion
- Nausea o Severe aches and pain in the
- Vomiting muscles, joints, chest or belly
How does meningococcal disease spread?
Meningococcal disease is spread person to person by sharing respiratory secretions, through kissing or coughing, close or lengthy contact, and among people who share a room or live in the same household.
- Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but teens and college freshmen who live in residence halls are at increased risk.
- Some people can “carry” meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without getting meningococcal disease, but can still infect other people.
- Most cases of meningococcal disease are spread by people who “carry” the bacteria with no symptoms, appear to be random, and not linked to other cases.
- Meningococcal outbreaks can occur in communities, schools, colleges, prisons, and in other high risk populations.
Where can I find more information?
- Ask your doctor.
- Call the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at 1-800-469-4599.
Go to cdc.gov and type meningococcal disease in SEARCH box.