Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a life-threatening illness that can occur suddenly.
The bacteria infects the blood, brain and spinal cord.
It is one of the most serious causes of meningitis (brain swelling).
The disease spreads from person-to-person through exchange of respiratory or throat secretions like saliva (by living in close quarters, sharing drinks or food, or kissing).
You can catch meningitis from a person who looks healthy.
The disease most often strikes older teens and young adults.
All preteens and teens need the vaccination against meningococcal disease starting at 11-12 years of age with a booster after age 16 years. Your provider may decide to vaccinate at a younger age or with an additional type of vaccine if they feel you are at increased risk.