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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.


Headache, sore throat/coryza, thirst, general aches, and fever2

Decreased appetite, nausea/vomiting, leg pain, and irritability2

Rash, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, neck stiffness, cold hands and feet, photophobia, and abnormal skin color2

Confusion/delirium, unconsciousness, seizure, and death,1,2

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.

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.

  • 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


Historically, 5 serogroups have caused a majority of cases of meningococcal disease: A, C, W, Y, and B.11 Of these 5, serogroups B, C, and Y caused the majority of all meningococcal cases in the United States from 2007 to 2018, with serogroups C and Y accounting for more than half the cases across all age groups.§

From 2015-2018, serogroups C and Y caused over 1/3 of all US meningococcal cases in patients aged less than 1 to ≥ to 65 years; N=1,410.§

§ In patients aged <1 to ≥65 years; N=1,410.
|| Includes serogroup W-135 and serogroups unable to be identified.


  1. Pelton SI. Meningococcal disease awareness: clinical and epidemiological factors affecting prevention and management in adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:S9-S15.
  2. Thompson MJ, Ninis N, Perera R, et al. Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet. 2006;367(9508):397-403.
  3. 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. Reviewed April 15, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
  4. 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. Reviewed December 27, 2019. Accessed March 12, 2020.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal disease: Technical and clinical information. Updated May 31, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal disease: Causes and transmission. Reviewed May 31, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Enhanced Meningococcal Disease Surveillance Reports 2015-2018. Accessed February 12, 2020.
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal vaccination for adolescents: information for healthcare professionals. Reviewed July 26, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2020.


MENVEO is a vaccine indicated for active immunization to prevent invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135 in individuals 2 months through 55 years of age. MENVEO does not prevent N. meningitidis serogroup B infections.


  • Do not administer MENVEO to individuals with a severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of MENVEO, to any component of this vaccine, or to any other diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine
  • Appropriate medical treatment must be available should an acute allergic reaction, including an anaphylactic reaction, occur following administration of MENVEO
  • Syncope (fainting) has occurred in association with administration of MENVEO. Procedures should be in place to avoid injury from fainting
  • Some individuals with altered immunocompetence, including some individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, may have reduced immune responses to MENVEO
  • Individuals with certain complement deficiencies and individuals receiving treatment that inhibits terminal complement activation (for example, eculizumab) are at increased risk for invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W, even if they develop antibodies following vaccination with MENVEO
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in temporal relationship following administration of another US-licensed meningococcal quadrivalent polysaccharide conjugate vaccine. The decision to administer MENVEO to individuals with a history of GBS should take into account the expected benefits and potential risks
  • Apnea following intramuscular vaccination has been observed in some infants born prematurely. A decision about when to administer MENVEO to an infant born prematurely should be based on consideration of the individual infant’s medical status and the potential benefits and possible risks of vaccination
  • Common solicited adverse reactions among children initiating vaccination: at 2 months of age and receiving the four-dose series were tenderness and erythema at injection site, irritability, sleepiness, persistent crying, change in eating habits, vomiting, and diarrhea; at 7 months through 23 months of age and receiving the two-dose series were tenderness and erythema at injection site, irritability, sleepiness, persistent crying, change in eating habits, and diarrhea; at 2 through 10 years of age who received MENVEO were injection site pain, erythema, irritability, induration, sleepiness, malaise, and headache. Common solicited adverse reactions among adolescents and adults aged 11 through 55 years who received a single dose of MENVEO were pain at the injection site, headache, myalgia, malaise, and nausea. Across all age groups, some events were severe. Similar rates of solicited adverse reactions among adolescents and adults were observed following a single booster dose
  • In two clinical studies, there were no notable differences in frequency and severity of solicited adverse reactions in individuals who received MENVEO 1-vial presentation compared to individuals who received the 2-vial presentation
  • Vaccination with MENVEO may not result in protection in all vaccine recipients

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