Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation of the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord and can infect the bloodstream. It is spread from person to person through the exchange of saliva (e.g. coughing, kissing or sharing drinks or eating utensils).
There are at least 12 types or “serogroups” of meningococcal diseases, one of which is serogroup B. In the U.S., the B strain accounts for 50 percent of all cases in persons 17 to 23 years of age.
There are two vaccinations available to protect against meningococcal disease – the MenACWY vaccine AND the MenB vaccine. Both are required to be fully immunized against the most common types of the disease. Few people have received both vaccines.