Certain groups of people are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. For some of these groups, there are recommended vaccines that prevent two of the three major serogroups (“strains”) of Neisseria meningitidisbacteria that cause most illness in the United States. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against meningococcal disease.
Some risk factors include:
- Age: Meningococcal disease is more commonly diagnosed among infants, adolescents and young adults. A vaccine is available and recommended for all 11 through 18 year old individuals.
- Community Setting: Infectious diseases tend to spread quickly wherever large groups of people gather together. As a result, first-year college students living in residence halls are at slightly increased risk compared with other persons of the same age. A vaccine is available and recommended for all first-year college students living in a residence hall. However, any college student can receive the vaccine to decrease their chances of getting meningococcal disease.
- Certain Medical Conditions: There are certain diseases, medications and surgical procedures that put people at increased risk of meningococcal disease, such as not having a spleen. A vaccine is available and recommended for those with these conditions.