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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Meningitis

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/shs/information/meningitis.html

What is Meningococcal Disease?

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the blood stream or meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord).

What causes Meningococal Disease?

There are several types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.  Some of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in the United States include Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B Streptococcus, Neisseria miningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, and Listeria monocytogenes. The most common causes of bacterial meningitis in the adolescent and young adult is Neisseria meningitides and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

How is the germ spread?

Meningococcus bacteria are spread from an infected person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit (e.g., by living in close quarters, kissing).  Many people carry this germ in their nose and throat without any sign of illness, while others may develop serious symptoms.

Who gets meningococcal disease?

For some college students, such as freshman living in residence halls, there is an increased risk of meningococcal disease. Between 100-125 cases occur on college campuses each year in the U.S.; between 5-15 college students die each years as a result of the infection.  Other persons at risk include household contacts of a person known to have had this disease, and people traveling to parts of the world where meningitis is prevalent.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of meningococcal disease often resemble those of the flu or other minor febrile illness, making it sometimes difficult to diagnose, and may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and confusion.  Onset can be ubrupt and course of disease rapid.  Symptoms may appear 2-10 days after exposure.

What is the treatment for meningococcal meningitis?

Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important.  10-15% of people die dispite treatment with antibiotics.  Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against memingococcal disease.

Who should get the meningococcal vaccine?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends dose #1 at 11-12 years of age and dose #2 at 16 years of age.  If dose #1 is delayed until 13-15 years of age, give dose #2 at 16-18 years of age.  If dose #1 is delayed until 16 years of age or older, dose #2 is not recommended.  Student Health Services carries Menveo brand.

For more information:

http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/risk-community.html

http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

http://www.immunize.org/acip/acipvax_menin.asp