Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by the type of bacteria known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
Meningococcal disease is spread from person to person through exchange of respiratory and throat secretions during close and lengthy contact. These bacteria are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or the flu, and are not spread by casual contact or breathing the air where the person with meningococcal disease has been.
Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease.
Vaccines are now available that help protect against all three serogroups (B, C, and Y) of meningococcal disease that are commonly seen in the United States:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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