- Meningococcemia is a
bloodstream infection cause by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.
- N. meningitidis is a
contagious bacterium and is spread from person to person via respiratory
- Initially, patients present
with fever and general aches. A rash is often present.
Patients with meningococcemia are usually seriously ill.
- Complications include
shock, failure of multiple organs, lack of circulation to the extremities, and
death. Patients may also develop or present with meningitis.
- Meningococcemia is treated
with intravenous antibiotics.
- Early treatment reduces the risk
of complications and death.
- Most disease is caused by four types (serogroups) of N. meningitidis. A vaccine is available to help prevent four of the five serogroups. The vaccine is recommended at 11 years of age, with a booster dose at 16 years of age.
- Vaccination is also recommended for people at high risk of getting the infection, including those with a missing spleen or a specific type of defect in their immune system. People who travel to areas where outbreaks are occurring should be vaccinated before travel.
- People who have had close
contact with an infected patient (for example, a household member with face-to-face
contact, a child's playmate, etc.) should receive antibiotics to reduce the risk
of disease. These "prophylactic" antibiotics should be started as
soon as possible but certainly within two weeks of exposure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2015