Adolescent Vaccination Recommendation: Vaccination with a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four major meningococcal serogroups (A, C, W, and Y) is recommended for all adolescents at age 11-12 years with a booster dose at age 16 years. Two newer vaccines were recently approved in the US that protect against serogroup B, which is now the most common cause of meningococcal disease in US adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made limited recommendations for their use and is considering additional recommendations. Serogroup B vaccines are currently recommended for people at increased risk of infection, including college students on campuses experiencing outbreaks caused by the serogroup B bacteria. Learn more about recent serogroup B outbreaks on US college campuses.
About meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease is a rare, but dangerous bacterial infection that most often causes meningitis and blood poisoning. Even though it is rare, meningococcal disease is of great concern due to its severity and because, while anyone can get meningococcal disease, adolescents are at increased risk.
Meningococcal infection can spread quickly, killing an otherwise healthy young person within 48 hours. Even with rapid, appropriate treatment, approximately 10 percent of those who become infected will die and up to 20 percent of survivors will suffer serious and permanent complications including brain damage, hearing loss, and amputations.
Meningitis is the most common manifestation of the disease; it causes high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and mental status changes. Because the early symptoms of meningococcal meningitis may be similar to symptoms of less severe illnesses, it is often misdiagnosed.
Blood infection, also called bacteremia or sepsis, is less common but more deadly. It may begin with sudden onset of fever, accompanied by fatigue, aches, and headache, and about half of patients develop a prominent purplish rash, usually on the arms and legs.