Meningococcal Infections

Overview

Meningococcal infections are caused by a group of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. The most common forms of meningococcal infections include meningitis (infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord) and meningococcemia (blood stream infections). Doctors in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children's Hospital care for children and adolescents with all types of infections, including meningococcal infections.

  • Meningococcal infections are not common and can be serious.
  • About 2,600 cases of invasive meningococcal disease occur in the United States each year.
  • They frequently occur during the late winter and early spring months.
  • Meningococcal infections are most common in children, but also occur in adolescents and adults.
  • Early treatment is essential.
  • They are usually treated with antibiotics, but children may require hospitalization.
  • A vaccine helps prevent meningococcal infections.