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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.

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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:

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 26 to 76 meningococcal disease cases are reported including one to eight deaths.

Meningococcus disease Case Data in King County by year and serotype