Meningococcal
Meningitis

Who's at risk?

Anyone can get meningococcal meningitis—however, certain people face a higher risk:

Infants younger than 1

16–23 year-olds

People with weakened immune systems

People without a spleen

Travelers to areas where meningococcal disease is more common

HOW IS MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS SPREAD?

The bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis live within the nose and throat. One in 10 young adults carry the bacteria with no signs or symptoms of disease. In rare cases, the bacteria can invade the body and lead to meningococcal disease. However, those who carry the bacteria can spread the bacteria easily from person to person through close contact, such as kissing, coughing, or sneezing.

Everyday behaviors can increase the risk of getting meningococcal meningitis, especially for teens and young adults, including:

Kissing

Coughing & sneezing

Living in close quarters

Sharing drinks & eating utensils

Smoking & secondhand smoke

Symptoms & DetectionLink Arrow