How can it be prevented?

Vaccination offers the best protection against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal vaccines are available in the U.S. for people six weeks of age and older.

Current vaccines offer protection against four of the five strains of the bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis) that cause meningococcal disease in the U.S. These are A, C, Y and W-135. No vaccine is currently available in the U.S. to protect against the fifth strain, which is type B. However, scientists and pharmaceutical manufacturers are conducting studies of vaccines to protect against type B disease in the U.S.

Although vaccination can prevent the majority of cases, it’s important to remember that no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Even if you or your children have been vaccinated, it’s a good idea to know the symptoms of meningococcal disease.