Meningococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years of age in the United States.   It can be very serious, even life-threatening in 48 hours or less.   The two most severe and common illnesses caused by meningococcal bacteria include:

    Meningitis – an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord

    Septicemia – a bloodstream infection


    What are the symptoms?

                    Symptoms of meningococcal disease are similar to flu and may include:

                    *Sudden onset of a high fever              *Increased sensitivity to light

                    *Headache                                          *Rash

                    *Stiff Neck                                          *Confusion

                    *Nausea                                              *Severe aches and pain in the muscles, joints,  

                    *Vomiting                                                                  chest and belly.             


    How does meningococcal disease spread?

                    The disease is spread person to person by sharing respiratory secretions through kissing or coughing, close or length contact, and among people who share a room or live in the same household. Meningococcal outbreaks can occur in communities, schools, or colleges.


    Meningococcal Vaccine:

                    Adolescents 11 through 18 years of age are routinely recommended for two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine. (MCV4)

    Who should get vaccinated?

                    College freshman living in dormitories.

                    Anyone with an immune system disorder.

                    Anyone exposed during a meningococcal meningitis outbreak.

    For more information ask your doctor, Call the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1-800-469-4599, or go to cdc.gov and type meningococcal vaccine the SEARCH BOX.