Related Information Regarding Invasive Meningococcal Disease Related Information Regarding Invasive Meningococcal Disease



Meningococcal Disease (N.meningitidis)

(Center)What is Meningococcal Disease?

Meningococcal disease is caused by bacterial infection with Neisseria meningitidisNeisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis and sepsis in the United States.  Invasive infection can cause meningitis or meningococcemia (meningococcal sepsis) which can be severe and potentially fatal.  Meningococcal Meningitis is when the bacteria infect the protective membranes covering their brain and spinal cord causing swelling.  Meningococcemia occurs when the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiplies in the walls of the blood vessels causing septic shock.  Other serious sequelae include hearing loss, neurologic disability, and amputation secondary to limb ischemia.

Image result for meningococcal disease redbook photosSymptoms

  • Fever/chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Altered mental status
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Diarrhea
  • Photopobia
  • Dark purplish rash (maculopapular, petechial, or in later stages purpuric)

Note:  Photcredit:  Redbook  2015

  •      Prophylaxis for High-Risk Contacts and People with Invasive Meningococcal Disease

Exposed persons should receive antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent secondary cases regardless of whether an outbreak is suspected.

TABLE. Recommended chemoprophylaxis regimens for protection against meningococcal disease — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), United States, 2012


Age group


Duration and route of administration*


Children aged <1 mo

5 mg/kg orally, every 12 hrs

2 days

Children aged ≥1 mo

15-20 mg/kg orally, every 12 hrs (maximum 600 mg)

2 days


1 mo

20 mg/kg orally(maximum 500mg)

Single dose


<15 yrs

125 mg intramuscularly

Single IM dose (To decrease pain dilute with 1% lidocaine)


≥15 yrs

250 mg intramuscularly

Single IM dose (To decrease pain dilute with 1 % lidocaine)

Rifampin is not recommended for pregnant women because the drug is teratogenic in laboratory animals. Because the reliability of oral contraceptives might be affected by rifampin therapy, consideration should be given to using alternative contraceptive measures while rifampin is being administered.

Source: Red Book (2018-2021) Meningococcal Infections: Table 3.42. Recommended chemoprophylaxis regimens for high-risk contacts and people with invasive meningococcal disease.




Clinical Reporting Guidelines Clinical Reporting Guidelines


Clinical Guidelines for Reporting Meningococcal Disease





Collect samples of blood and CSF if Neisseria meningitis is suspected.

          If Neisseria meningitidis is identified by culture, send isolate to IDPH laboratory for serogrouping and molecular typing. If no isolate is                                        available send specimens to IDPH. (e.g.  Gram-negative diplococci on gram stain and/or positive PCR with negative culture.)

IDPH Laboratory

2121 W. Taylor Street

Chicago, IL  60612


Report suspect, probable, or confirmed cases of Meningococcal Disease within 24 hours to the CDPH Provider Hotline (312) 743-9000 during business hours (Monday - Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm) or 311 outside of business hours and enter the case in the I-NEDSS Web Portal.  Register for a portal account here I-NEDSS Web Portal.  

(Gram stain of CSF showing gram-negative diplococci strongly suggests meningococcal meningitis)


Complete the IDPH Communicable Disease Laboratory Test Requisition Form.



Ship specimens or isolates to:

           Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratory

           2121 W. Taylor Street

           Chicago, IL. 60612


Once received, IDPH confirms the identification and determines the serogroup of N. meningitidis isolates. Selected isolates are forwarded to CDC laboratories for additional molecular characterization




Contact Us Contact Us

Contact Us

For Clinical Questions Contact:

Sarah Kemble, MD (312) - 746-6088

Stephanie Black, MD (312) - 746-6034

For Other Questions Contact:

(312) – 743-9000


For questions during non-business hours call 311. (312-744-5000 if outside the City of Chicago.)

Case Definitions Case Definitions

Suspected Case

·         A clinically compatible case and gram-negative diplococcic in any sterile fluid, such as CSF, synovial fluid, or scraping from a petechial or purpuric lesion;
·         Clinical pupura fulminans without a positive culture

Probable Case
·         A clinically compatible case with EITHER a positive result of antigen test OR immunohistochemistry of formalin-fixed tissue.

Confirmed Case
A Clinically compatible case and isolation of Neisseria meningitidis from a usually sterile site, for example:
·         Blood
·         Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
·         Synovial Fluid
·         Pleural fluid
·         Pericardial fluid
·         Isolation from skin scraping of petechial or purpuric lesions
Detection of N meningitidis-specific nucleic acid in a specimen obtained from a normally sterile body site (e.g., blood or CSF), using a validated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay

Source: Red Book (2018-2021 P.553) Meningococcal Infections: Table 3.40. Surveillance Case Definitions for Invasive Meningococcal Disease

Please include the following data elements when reporting cases:

  1. Patient Name, DOB, Address
  2. Gram Stain Results
  3. Include specimen source
  4. Culture results from CSF Blood (if available)
  5. CSF cell count, Protein, Glucose
  6. Peripheral White Blood Cell (WBC)
  7. Date of Symptom Onset
  8. Emergency Contact
  9. Location 7-10 days prior to symptom onset


*The incubation period for Meningococcal Disease can range from 2 to 10 days.