Meningitis

Parents of teens and young adults should take five minutes to talk to their child’s healthcare provider about the five vaccine-preventable serogroups of meningitis and the two different types of vaccines needed to help protect against the disease.

The facts

  1. Meningococcal meningitis, often referred to as meningitis, is an inflammation of the protective membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord.1

  2. About one in 10 people carry Neisseria meningitidis, the bacteria that can cause meningitis. These bacteria live in the back of the nose and throat. People who have the bacteria without any signs or symptoms of the disease are called “carriers”.2

  3. Early symptoms may be similar to those of a cold or the flu, but can progress quickly and can be fatal, or cause disability, sometimes within 24 hours.3,4  Symptoms can include fever, headache, and stiff neck as well as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.4
Meningitis infographic
Meningitis infographic

The stories

Jamie Schanbaum, US para-athlete, meningitis survivor and GSK spokesperson

Jamie Schanbaum contracted meningitis at the age of 20, losing her fingers and legs below the knee as a result of the disease. She went on to become a gold medal winning cyclist.

Patsy Schanbaum, mother of meningitis survivor Jamie Schanbaum, vaccination advocate and GSK spokesperson

Meningitis survivor, Jamie Schanbaum, and her mother, Patsy Schanbaum, share their story about Jamie’s experience, her road to recovery and life after meningitis.

Tiffany Williams, meningitis advocate and GSK spokesperson

Tiffany Williams shares the story of her younger brother, Nicolis “Nico” Williams, who died from meningitis B while he was in college.

Who should get vaccinated against meningitis?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated against serogroups A, C, W and Y with a booster dose given at 16 years old6
  • Teens and young adults aged 16 through 23 years may also be vaccinated against serogroup B, preferably at 16 through 18 years old6

Talk to your teen or young adult’s healthcare provider about meningitis and the two different types of vaccines that together help protect against the five vaccine-preventable groups of the disease.

Learn more about meningitis and what you can do to help prevent it!


Disclaimer: External sites linked are not endorsed by GSK. We are not responsible for information that is provided on these sites.


1 CDC. Meningitis. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html. Accessed July 2018.

2 CDC. Meningococcal Disease. Causes and Spread to Others. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/causes-transmission.html/, Accessed July 2018.

3 CDC. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html. Accessed July 2018.

4 CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Signs & Symptoms. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/symptoms.html. Accessed July 2018.

5 CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Technical and Clinical Information. June 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/clinical-info.html. Accessed July 2018.

6 CDC. Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/public/index.html. Accessed July 2018.