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.

Currently recommended vaccines offer protection against four major strains of the bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis) that cause meningococcal disease: A, C, W and Y. In October 2014, the first vaccine to protect against serogroup B meningococcal disease was approved. The CDC has not yet issued a recommendation for this vaccine.

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.