Alternate Names : Neisseria Meningitidis Infections
Meningococcal infections are caused by the bacteria Neisseria
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