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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 exposed to 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

    Should Your Child Get the HPV Vaccine?

    If you have a child who is at least 9 years old, you may be weighing whether he or she should get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Men and women can carry it. HPV sometimes plays a role in other cancers as well, including cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and throat. There are two HPV vaccines: Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil, which protects against four HPV types (6, 11, 16,...

    Read the Should Your Child Get the HPV 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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