The meningococcal vaccine protects you from four types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. This illness can cause meningitis, an infection of the lining around the brain or spinal cord. It can also cause a blood infection (meningococcal bacteremia), pneumonia, and other problems. Ten percent to 15% of people who are infected with the disease die from it, even if they were treated with antibiotics. As many as 20% of those who survive may have lasting problems such as hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, or loss of limbs.
Because this illness is serious, it's important you get vaccinated if you are at risk.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.
You can catch meningococcal infection through close contact with someone who has the bacteria in his or her throat or nose. Early symptoms of both meningitis and blood infection can be confused with the flu or a cold, but symptoms can rapidly become more severe and may include:
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases: "Facts About Meningococcal Disease for Adults," "Meningococcal Disease."
CDC: "Factsheet: Meningococcal Diseases and Meningococcal Vaccines," "Meningococcal; Who Needs to be Vaccinated?" "Meningococcal Vaccination," "Meningococcal Vaccines What You Need to Know," "Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee ACIP," "Vaccine Information Statements (VIS), ''Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary, Part 2.''
National Network for Immunization Information: "Meningococcal."