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Meningitis - What Increases Your Risk

A risk factor is anything that makes you more likely to get a certain disease. Risk factors for meningitis include:

  • Genetics. Some people may inherit the tendency to get meningitis. If they come in contact with organisms that can cause the infection, they may be likely to get infected.
  • Being male. Males get meningitis more often than females.
  • Crowded living conditions. People in camps, day care centers, schools, and college dormitories are more likely to get meningitis.
  • Being exposedto insects and rodents. People who live in or visit areas of the world where insects or rodents carry germs that cause meningitis risk getting the disease.
  • Not getting childhood immunizations. People who didn't get shots for mumps, Hib disease, or pneumococcal infections before age 2 are more likely to get meningitis.
  • Being an older adult who hasn't gotten a pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Not having a working spleen, which is part of the body's immune system.
  • Travel to areas where meningitis is common. For example, people traveling to the "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa should get a meningococcal shot.

Medical problems that can increase your risk include:

Recommended Related to Children's Vaccines

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended for all children. It protects against three potentially serious illnesses. It is a two-part vaccination, and in most states, you must prove your children have gotten it before they can enter school. If you are an adult who has not had the vaccination or the diseases, you may need the MMR shot, too.

Read the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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