Meningococcal Disease

What is meningococcal disease?

It is a sudden and severe illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It most commonly presents as meningitis or meningococcemia.

The bacteria can also cause pneumonia, arthritis or pericarditis.

It is spread through close or prolonged contact, usually by saliva or droplets produced by coughing. About 10% of people carry the bacteria with no signs or symptoms.

There are 5 types of this bacteria that cause illness: serogroups A, B, C, W, and Y.

Vaccines can protect against many serogroups and are usually given at ages 11 and 16.

Providers must report confirmed meningococcal disease cases.

To report, call reporting line at (253) 649-1412.

Additional Resources

Meningococcal disease fact sheet—Disease and diagnostic information.
CDC Meningococcal disease page.