Learn more about meningococcal disease
Although uncommon, meningococcal disease strikes rapidly and is potentially fatal1
A Closer Look at Meningococcal Disease
Symptoms of meningococcal disease progress rapidly and are often mistaken for the flu in early stages, but can lead to death within 24 hours in some patients.2,8 Please note that symptoms can vary in the order and timing of appearance and some may not appear at all. Symptoms may differ by age group.
Meningococcal disease can strike rapidly. Although uncommon, meningococcal disease is potentially fatal.
Hypothetical case in an individual 15- to 16-years-old.
*Hours expressed as medians.
†Seizure was noted at a median of 26 hours.
‡Even with appropriate treatment, the fatality rate is 10%-15% for patients with invasive meningococcal disease.3
Data were obtained from parents of test subjects via questionnaire (n=313) or interview with a study investigator (n=135). Parents were asked at what time of day their child’s symptoms began, as well as the time of appearance of predefined clinical features. Additional data were obtained from medical records for the course of illness before admission to the hospital in 448 children (≤16 years of age) with meningococcal disease (345 nonfatal cases; 103 fatal). Diagnosis was confirmed with microbiologic techniques in 83% of cases (n=373). The remainder of the children (n=75) were probable cases.2
- IN AS FEW AS 24 HOURS, the symptoms related to meningococcal disease can progress to death in some cases1,2
- 10% to 15% DIE from complications associated with meningococcal disease3-5
- Of those who survive, 11% to 19% SUFFER permanent consequences—including seizures, limb loss, kidney damage, hearing loss, and skin scarring1,3,6-8
- 5% to 10% OF THE GENERAL POPULATION CARRY the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis asymptomatically. Although asymptomatic carriage is common, few carriers develop invasive meningococcal disease. For the majority of people, carriage is an immunizing process that results in systemic, serogroup-specific protective antibody response4,9
- Pelton SI. Meningococcal disease awareness: clinical and epidemiological factors affecting prevention and management in adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:S9-S15.
- Thompson MJ, Ninis N, Perera R, et al. Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet. 2006;367(9508):397-403.
- Meningococcal disease. In: Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 13th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation; 2015;261-278. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/mening.html. Reviewed April 15, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
- McNamara LA, Blain A. Meningococcal Disease in: Roush SW, Baldy LM, Hall MAK, eds. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html. Reviewed December 27, 2019. Accessed March 12, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal disease: Technical and clinical information. http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/clinical-info.html. Updated May 31, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
- Slack R, Hawkins KC, Gilhooley L, Addison GM, Lewis MA, Webb NJA. Long-term outcome of meningococcal sepsis-associated acute renal failure. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005;6(4):477-479.
- Vyse A, Anonychuk A, Jäkel A, et al. The burden and impact of severe and long-term sequelae of meningococcal disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2013;11(6):597-604.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and control of meningococcal disease recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. 2013;62(RR-2):1-28.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal disease: Causes and transmission. http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/causes-transmission.html. Reviewed May 31, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Enhanced Meningococcal Disease Surveillance Reports 2015-2018. http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/surveillance/index.html#enhanced-reports. Accessed February 12, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal vaccination for adolescents: information for healthcare professionals. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/hcp/adolescent-vaccine.html. Reviewed July 26, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.