Anyone can get meningococcal meningitis—however, certain people face a higher risk:
Infants younger than 1
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: