Meningococcal Disease & Vaccine Information
Find the Information You Need to Make an Informed Vaccine Decision
Meningococcal: The Disease
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial illness caused by the aerobic, gram-negative bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (N. meningitidis).1 Thirteen types (serogroups) of N. Meningitis or meningococci have been identified2 with six found to be responsible for epidemics resulting in invasive meningococcal disease. Meningitis is the most common presentation of invasive meningococcal disease and accounts for approximately 75 percent of all cases.
Symptoms of meningitis begin to appear between 3 and 7 day after exposure to meningococcal bacteria. At first, symptoms may appear mild and similar to cold or flu symptoms and may include headache, fever, aches and pains. As the illness progresses, additional symptoms can include skin rash, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, inability to look at bright lights, mental confusions and irritability, extreme fatigue/sleepiness, convulsions and unconsciousness. In babies, symptoms can include a high-pitched moaning cry, difficulty or refusal to feed, and the fontanel, the soft area on the top of the head, may also be bulging.3 4 Learn more about Meningococcal…
There are four FDA approved meningococcal vaccines currently available for use in the United States. Two vaccines, Menectra (Sanofi Pasteur) and Menveo (Novartis/GlaxoSmithKline) conjugate vaccines target serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 meningococcal bacteria and two vaccines, BEXSERO (Novartis/GlaxoSmithKline) and TRUMENBA (Wyeth/Pfizer) recombinant vaccines target serogroup B meningococcal bacteria.5
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the first dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine targeting serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 (Menectra or Menveo) be administered at age 11-12 with a second booster dose given at the age of 16. ACIP also recommends that high risk children between 2 months and 10 years and high risk adults be vaccinated with meningococcal conjugate vaccine. While the CDC recommends meningococcal serogroup B vaccines for high risk adults, meningococcal group B vaccines have not received FDA approved for use in persons over the age of 25.6 7 8 Additionally, TRUMENBA and BEXSERO vaccines are not interchangeable and the same vaccine brand must be used for all administered doses.9 Learn more about Meningococcal vaccine…
Meningococcal Quick Facts
- Meningococcal disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides. Most frequently, the illness can result in inflammation of the meninges of the brain (meningitis) and a serious bloodstream infection (septicemia/meningococcemia). Invasive meningococcal disease can also present as arthritis and pneumonia.10
- Meningococcal disease is not easily spread and requires one to be susceptible to the infection and to have regular close contact with a person who is colonizing the bacteria.11
- Meningococcal rates are low in the U.S. and have steadily declined since the 1990’s. In 2017, there were approximately 350 cases and 45 deaths (13.1 percent fatality rate) attributed to meningococcal disease.12 Individuals most at risk for contracting meningococcal disease are babies under a year old and young adults between the ages of 16 and 23.13 Continue reading quick facts…
- There are four FDA approved meningococcal vaccines currently available for use in the U.S. Two vaccines, Menectra (Sanofi Pasteur) and Menveo (Novartis/GlaxoSmithKline) conjugate vaccines target serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 meningococcal bacteria and two vaccines, BEXSERO (Novartis/GlaxoSmithKline) and TRUMENBA (Wyeth/Pfizer) recombinant vaccines target serogroup B meningococcal bacteria.14
- The CDC recommends all children receive their first dose of meningococcal serogroup A, C, Y and W-135 conjugate vaccine at age 11-12 and an additional booster dose at age 16.15 The booster dose recommendation was made in 2010 after studies noted that only 50 percent of adolescents vaccinated at age 11-12 had sufficient vaccine acquired antibodies to protect them against meningococcal disease five years post-vaccination.16 Continue reading quick facts…
Learn More About Meningococcal and Meningococcal Vaccine
Click here to view, download, or print all sections below as one document or webpage.
NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Meningococcal and the Meningococcal vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents below, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.
NVIC “Quick Facts” is not a substitute for becoming fully informed about Meningococcal disease, meningitis and the Meningococcal vaccine. NVIC recommends consumers read the more complete information following the "Quick Facts", as well as the vaccine manufacturer product information inserts, and speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child.
« Return to Vaccines & Diseases Table of Contents
1 CDC Meningococcal Disease - Neisseria meningitidis Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
2 Aquino Gondim, FDA Meningococcal Meningitis – Background Medscape Jul. 16, 2018
3 WebMD Meningitis Symptoms Warning Signs Jun. 13, 2017
4 CDC. Meningococcal Disease. April 2017
5 FDA Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States Nov. 16, 2018
7 FDA BEXSERO Product Insert May 31, 2018
8 FDA TRUMENBA Product Insert Mar. 14, 2018
9 CDC Use of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines in Adolescents and Young Adults: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015 MMWR Oct. 23, 2015; 64(41);1171-6
10 CDC Meningococcal Disease Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
11 CDC. Meningococcal Disease - Causes and Spread to Others. Mar. 28, 2017
12 CDC Enhanced Meningococcal Disease Surveillance report, 2017 : confirmed and probable cases reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, 2017 Nov. 21, 2018
13 CDC Meningococcal Disease - Age as a Risk Factor Mar. 28, 2017
14 FDA Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States Nov. 16, 2018
15 CDC Vaccines and Preventable Disease – Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know May 19, 2017
16 CDC Updated Recommendations for Use of Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines --- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010 MMWR Jan. 28, 2011; 60(03);72-76