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Facts about Meningococcal Meningitis

Updated on November 15, 2015

Infants are at risk for Meningococcal meningitis, get them vaccinated.

What is Meningococcal menningitis

Meningococcal Meningitis Fact

Meningitis is inflammation in the protective membranes covering in the brain and the spinal cord, known as Meninges the inflammation is usually caused by an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Meningococcal Meningitis Disease

Although rare, Meningococcal Meningitis is an invasive serious and potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord, and it can also cause infection in the blood and of the skin, gastrointestinal tract or other organs or enter the nervous system after a severe head trauma or surgery.

5 Types of Meningitis

  • Bacterial- caused by bacteria, and can be a life-threatening infection that needs immediate attention
  • Viral- causes by viruses like enteroviruses and the herpes simplex viruses.
  • Parasitic- caused by parasites
  • Fungal- can be acquired by inhaling fungal spore
  • Non-infectious- Not spread from person to person

Here are some statistics

  • Each year about 1,000 to 3,000 people in the United States get Meningococcal Meningitis bacterium disease and about 95% are Group B Miningococcal.
  • According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), about 10% to 15% of those who contracted Meningococcal disease will die, and people age 15 to 24 years of age are 5 times higher than other groups.
  • 15-20% of survivors are left with serious medical problems such as amputation of arm or legs and also deafness..

Signs and Symptoms

Meningitis can often be confused with those of the flu, this disease acts quickly within hours-the result may cause brain damage, Kidney loss, hearing loss, loss of body parts, and even death. That is why it is extremely important to recognize the possible signs and symptoms, and act quickly quick medical care can mean the difference between life or death an early diagnosis could save a life.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, parents should call the child’s doctor or go to the emergency room, it’s also important for teens to recognize these symptoms and tell some one.

  • Sudden high fever
  • Rash red spots on the body, arms, legs
  • Severe persistent headache
  • Vomiting or Nausea
  • Drowsiness or difficulty awakening
  • Confusion
  • Numbness in the hand and/or feet
  • Seizures
  • Light sensitivity
  • Painful neck stiffness
  • Joint pain

Here are also other symptoms you may want to look at:

  • Fast breathing
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Lethargy
  • irritability
  • Tense and/or Bulging soft spot (In babies)
  • Stiff, jerky movement (In babies or toddlers)

How do people get Meningococcal Meningitis

The bacteria enters the body through the nose and mouth,by kissing ,coughing people carry a small amount that is not life threatening in their throat or the back of the neck without getting the disease, since the bacteria is so common most cases appear random. Meningococcal Meningitis is spread through physical contact from everyday activities. Here are some ways:

  • Drinking from other people’s glasses, cups and eating utensils
  • Smoking
  • Living on dorms and boarding schools

Who is at risk

In addition to infants, teens and young adults also college students living in dorms and United States military traveling to or living in Africa, and those with an immune system disorder and have been exposed to Meningitis.

Where to find more info

  • National Association of School Nurses: to raise awareness and encourage parents to have their children vaccinated
  • New York State Department of Health
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reduce the risk of contracting

To reduce the risk of Meningococcal Meningitis is to inform everyone to get vaccinated, Meningitis vaccines are available to those who wish to reduce their risk of contracting the disease.

About the vaccine

Some people may have a minor reaction to the shot that may include, pain and redness at the injection site and should not be a problem, but call the doctor if a severe reaction, or a mild fever for 1 or 2 days.

When to get the vaccine

Meningitis vaccine can be administered to children between the ages of 11 and 12 years old and again at age 16. To remain protected, or the booster shot at age 18, the booster shot is important because over time the vaccines can wear off, the CDC recommends a booster dose to help teens and adults stay protected through the vulnerable years.

Vaccines for Meningococcal meningitis

There are 2 types

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (mcv4) Menactra is approved for people ages 9 months to 55 years, the other vaccine, menveo is used in those ages 2 through 55,and M-polysaccharide vaccine the only vaccine used for people older than 55.


Teens and young adults should be informed about the dangers of Meningococcal Meningitis

Being informed can save your life, or some one you know or love who may have Meningococal Meningitis.

Recommended reading: An overview of Meningitis

Get vaccined it can save a life

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