Meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis is sometimes referred to as
Some people have Neisseria meningitidis in their throats without getting sick. But they can pass it
to another person, who may get sick.
causes meningitis in about 25% of the people who get the illness
every year in the United States.1
Neisseria meningitidis also can cause
outbreaks of meningitis. Outbreaks are most common
outside the U.S.
If you are planning foreign travel, particularly to sub-Saharan
Africa, talk with a doctor about getting the
Neisseria meningitidis vaccine. Small outbreaks occur
every year in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adolescents get 2 doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine.2 Children 9 months to 2 years old also should get the vaccine if they are at high risk of having severe problems from meningitis. The vaccine protects against
certain strains of Neisseria meningitidis. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
People who have contact with someone with a Neisseria meningitidis infection may need to take a course of antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading.
CitationsRoos KL, Tyler KL (2012). Meningitis, encephalitis,
brain abscess, and empyema. In DL Longo et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed., vol. 2,
pp. 3410–3434. New York: McGraw-Hill.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). Updated recommendations for use of meningococcal conjugate vaccines: Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010. MMWR, 60(03): 72–76. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6003a3.htm?s_cid=mm6003a3_e&source=govdelivery.
December 6, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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