Meningococcal disease fact sheet

Meningococcal disease, which is commonly known is meningitis, is a rare but serious disease that can be deadly. Meningitis can cause life-long disability within 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

About 10-15% of people infected with meningitis will die1a while 11-19%1b of the survivors will suffer long-term disability, including loss of limbs, brain damage, deafness and nervous system problems.

Vaccines Are the Most Important Form of Protection

Serogroups A, B, C, W-135 and Y account for the majority of meningitis cases in the United States.

Meningitis vaccines have been available in the U.S. since the 1980s to help protect against serogroups A, C, W-135 and Y.  Yet until 2014, there were no vaccines to help protect against a fifth serogroup, B, which causes 30% of disease in the U.S.2a

Young Adults Could Be At Risk

Young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal B disease (MenB) because they often live, work and play in settings that foster close contact (e.g., college residence halls, military and camp settings). To date, most young adults have not been vaccinated against MenB.

In fact, a recent poll found that 83% of parents want their children to be vaccinated against all five vaccine-preventable serogroups of the disease, including serogroup B.4 However, only 1% of young adults have received the vaccine that helps protect against meningitis due to serogroup B, which causes 30% of the cases in the U.S.2a  

Take five minutes to talk to your doctor about the five vaccine-preventable serogroups of meningitis and see if vaccination is right for you and your family.


CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Technical and Clinical Information. June 2015. Available at

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CDC. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. April 2014. Available at:

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Harris Poll. US Awareness Poll-Young Adults. February 2015.