Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. It can lead to meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and infections of the blood. Meningococcal disease often occurs without warning - even among people who are otherwise healthy.
Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person through close contact (coughing or kissing) or lengthy contact, especially among people living in the same household.
There are at least 12 types of N. meningitidis, called "serogroups." Serogroups A, B, C, W, and Y cause most meningococcal disease.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease. But certain people are at increased risk, including:
Even when it is treated, meningococcal disease kills 10 to 15 infected people out of 100. And of those who survive, about 10 to 20 out of every 100 will suffer disabilities such as hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, amputations, nervous system problems, or severe scars from skin grafts.
Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine can help prevent meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B. Other meningococcal vaccines are recommended to help protect against serogroups A, C, W, and Y.
Two serogroup B meningococcal vaccines - Bexsero® and Trumenba® - have been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These vaccines are recommended routinely for people 10 years or older who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal infections, including:
These vaccines may also be given to anyone 16 through 23 years old to provide short term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease; 16 through 18 years are the preferred ages for vaccination.
For best protection, more than 1 dose of a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine is needed. The same vaccine must be used for all doses. Ask your health care provider about the number and timing of doses.
Tell the person who is giving you the vaccine:
If you have a mild illness, such as a cold, you can probably get the vaccine today. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are also possible.
More than half of the people who get serogroup B meningococcal vaccine have mild problems following vaccination. These reactions can last up to 3 to 7 days, and include:
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit the vaccine safety web site: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would usually start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor should file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement
Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017