Meningitis Risks"Meningococcal meningitis risks" header

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating and potentially deadly disease1-3

Although rare, meningococcal meningitis can be fatal in as little as 24 hours.1 In fact, 10-15% of all cases are fatal.2 The number of fatalities from meningococcal disease in the United States is highest among adolescents and young adults.4-19

Chart of "Age-specific fatalities from meningococcal disease - United States, 1999-2014"

Even if not deadly, up to 1 in 5 survivors is left with serious and permanent sequelae1,3,20

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Severe scarring

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Brain damage

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Hearing loss

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Kidney damage

At a critical time, immunity may wane

Studies show that protection provided by the primary vaccination given at 11 or 12 years of age wanes over time, with most adolescents potentially underprotected 5 years after their primary vaccination, the same time they enter their peak period of risk (16-21 years of age).2

Common behaviors may put adolescents at risk for meningococcal disease1,21

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Sharing drinking glasses

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Living in close quarters

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Menactra vaccine is contraindicated in persons with a known hypersensitivity (eg, anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine.

Persons previously diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) may be at increased risk of GBS following receipt of Menactra vaccine. GBS has been reported in temporal relationship following administration of Menactra vaccine. The decision to give Menactra vaccine should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks.

Syncope (fainting) can occur in association with administration of injectable vaccines, including Menactra vaccine. Procedures should be in place to prevent falling injury and manage syncopal reactions.

The most common local and systemic adverse reactions to Menactra vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site and appetite loss (all age groups); induration at the injection site and diarrhea (all age groups except infants); irritability and drowsiness (infants and children); abnormal crying, vomiting, and fever (infants); headache, fatigue, malaise, and arthralgia (adolescents and adults). Other adverse reactions may occur. Vaccination with Menactra vaccine may not protect all individuals.


Menactra vaccine is indicated for active immunization to prevent invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135. Menactra vaccine is approved for use in individuals 9 months through 55 years of age. Menactra vaccine does not prevent N meningitidis serogroup B disease.

Before administering Menactra vaccine, please see accompanying full Prescribing Information.

  • 1. World Health Organization. Media centre: meningococcal meningitis—fact sheet No.141. Updated November 2015. Accessed March 16, 2017. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and control of meningococcal disease: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. 2013;62(RR-2):1-28. 3. Erickson L, De Wals P. Complications and sequelae of meningococcal disease in Quebec, Canada, 1990-1994.Clin Infect Dis. 1998;26(5):1159-1164. 4. Hoyert DL, Arias E, Smith BL, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 1999. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2001;49(8):1-113. 5. Miniño AM, Arias E, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Smith BL. Deaths: final data for 2000. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2002;50(15):1-119. 6. Arias E, Anderson RN, Kung HC, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2001. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2003;52(3):1-115. 7. Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Anderson RN, Scott C. Deaths: final data for 2002. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2004;53(5):1-115. 8. Hoyert DL, Heron MP, Murphy SL, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2003. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2006;54(13):1-119. 9. Miniño AM, Heron MP, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2004. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2007;55(19):1-119. 10. Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu J, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 2005. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2008;56(10):1-120. 11. Heron M, Hoyert DL, Murphy SL, Xu J, Kochanek KD, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2006. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2009;57(14):1-134. 12. Xu J, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2007. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2010;58(19):1-134. 13. Miniño AM, Murphy SL, Xu J, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2008. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2011;59(10):1-126. 14. Kochanek KD, Xu J, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2011;60(3):1-116. 15. Murphy SL, Xu J, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2010. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2013;61(4):1-117. 16. Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Xu J. Deaths: final data for 2011. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2015;63(3):1-119. 17. Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Xu J, Heron M. Deaths: final data for 2012. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2015;63(9):1-117. 18. Xu J, Murphy SL, Kochanek DK, Bastian BA. Deaths: final data for 2013. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2016;64(2):1-118. 19. Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Xu J, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2014. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2016;65(4):1-121. 20. Borg J, Christie D, Coen PG, Booy R, Viner RM. Outcomes of meningococcal disease in adolescence: prospective, matched-cohort study. Pediatrics. 2009;123(3):e502-e509. 21. Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. Meningococcal disease. In: Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 13th ed. Washington DC: Public Health Foundation; 2015:231-246.