Meningococcal disease is caused by bacterial infection with Neisseria meningitidis.
Meningococcal Disease (N.meningitidis)
Neisseria 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.
Altered mental status
Cold hands and feet
Dark purplish rash (maculopapular, petechial, or in later stages purpuric)
Note: Photo credit: 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
Duration and route of administration*
Children aged <1 mo
5 mg/kg orally, every 12 hrs
Children aged ≥1 mo
15-20 mg/kg orally, every 12 hrs (maximum 600 mg)
≥ 1 mo
20 mg/kg orally(maximum 500mg)
125 mg intramuscularly
Single IM dose (To decrease pain dilute with 1% lidocaine)
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 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.
First Webinar: Presentation on vaccine recommendations for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in Chicago now available.
In this webinar for medical providers who care for MSM, topics include:
Summary of the meningococcal outbreak among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Chicago Metropolitan Area
Review of meningococcal vaccination efforts including geographic and demographic distribution of federally-funded vaccine
Information on how to order 317 meningococcal vaccine for Chicago providers
Presentation Information Presentor: Sarah Kemble, MD, Medical Director, Communicable Diseases, Chicago Department of Public Health Webinar recording courtesy of EverThrive Illinois. Link below will take you to another site.