skip to main content

Public Health - Seattle & King County

Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious and potentially life-threatening infection that usually involves the blood stream (bacteremia) and/or central nervous system (meningitis). Meningococcal infections are caused by certain serogroups (primarily B, C and Y in the United States) of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The bacteria are spread primarily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and by direct contact with the saliva of an infected person (or carrier). Rates of disease are highest in young infants, adolescents and young adults. A vaccine is available to protect against infections with type A, C, W-135, and Y meningococcal disease and is recommended for all adolescents.

Resources for the general public
Resources for health care providers
Meningococcal disease in King County

Purpose of surveillance:

  • To identify and monitor trends in incidence of N. meningiditis causing invasive disease in King County, including the occurrence of specific meningococcal serogroups
  • To identify outbreaks and implement appropriate disease control measures including vaccination
  • To identify exposed persons for post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent infection

Meningococcus disease Case Data in King County

Local epidemiology:

One probable case of meningococcal disease was reported in 2014 in an adult with meningitis whose source of infection was not identified. The last two cases of confirmed invasive meningococcal disease were reported in 2013: a child with bacteremia (serogroup B) and an adult with septic arthritis (serogroup C). Both cases required hospitalization, and the child died.

Each year in Washington state between 20 and 40 meningococcal disease cases are reported.

Meningococcus disease Case Data in King County by year and serotype