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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Meningococcal Infections

Meningococcal Infections

Alternate Names : Neisseria Meningitidis Infections

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Meningococcal infections are caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.

What is going on in the body?

When Neisseria meningitidis bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can cause a number of infections. Some of the time, the infection is brief and mild. Other times, the bacteria may spread to the spinal cord. That causes an infection called meningitis. The bacteria may also cause a severe bodywide infection that causes circulation and bleeding problems. This infection is known as meningococcemia.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Meningococcal infections are caused by contact with people who carry the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria in their throats. Some people carry these bacteria in their throats all the time and don't get sick. Others get a life threatening illness the first time they are exposed to these bacteria. People who have a higher risk of meningococcal infection are the following:

  • children, especially younger children in a day care setting
  • people with weakened immune systems
  • those in crowded settings, such as a school, college dormitory, or military camps
  • those with close contacts who develop this infection, such as friends or family members


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    Meningococcal Infections: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Danielle Zerr, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 06/27/01

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