Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. 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 (sepsis).
These bacteria spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. 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.
There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines:
- The MenACWY vaccine for preteens, teens, and children and adults with certain health conditions
- The MenB vaccine for people age 10 years and older who have certain health conditions — or are in an area with an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease.