- Viral meningitis is the most common form.2 It is serious but generally not life threatening, and it usually goes away in 7 to 10 days.7
- Bacterial meningitis is rare, but it is very serious and potentially fatal.4,8 It includes meningococcal disease.2
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium called meningococcus.2,4 In addition to meningitis, meningococcus can cause other serious infections. For example, it can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection called meningococcal sepsis.4,9
Meningococcal disease, which includes both meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal sepsis, can progress quickly.2,4,9 It can make an infant or teenager very sick and may even be life threatening.2,4,9-13
Meningococcal meningitis symptoms
Meningococcal meningitis can be difficult to diagnose because its most common symptoms – fever, headache, and muscle pain – may be similar to those of influenza (flu).2,4,13,15 The symptoms of meningitis can occur suddenly and include:1,2,4,9,16
- Stiff neck or other muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
If your child has symptoms – especially if they’ve been around someone with meningitis – contact a doctor immediately. When it comes to treating this potentially deadly disease, speed is essential.2,13,15
Don’t take chances with meningitis.
How meningococcal meningitis spreads
Meningococcal disease spreads just like the flu, passing from person to person through everyday activities.1,2,4 Some people carrying the bacteria never get sick, so they might pass it to others without knowing.1,4
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers and young adults are most likely to get meningitis.4 Research has shown that the following activities put teenagers and young adults at greater risk1,2,17,18:
- Living in close quarters, such as college dormitories
- Being in crowded situations for prolonged periods of time
- Sharing drinking glasses, water bottles, or eating utensils
- Smoking or being exposed to smoke
- Staying out late and having irregular sleeping patterns, which weakens the immune system
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Important Safety Information
Menactra vaccine is given to people 9 months through 55 years of age to help prevent meningococcal disease (including meningitis) caused by certain strains of meningococcal bacteria. Menactra vaccine is not indicated for the prevention of meningitis caused by meningococcal strains not contained in the vaccine.
Side effects to Menactra vaccine include injection site pain, redness, swelling, headache and tiredness. In infants, irritability, crying, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Other side effects may occur.
Vaccination should be avoided by persons with known hypersensitivity (severe allergic reaction) to any ingredient of the vaccine. Persons previously diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS - severe muscle weakness) may have an increased chance of getting GBS following vaccination. Vaccination with Menactra vaccine may not protect all individuals.
For more information about Menactra vaccine, talk to your health care professional.