Neisseria meningitidis can cause meningitis and/or meningococcemia as endemic or epidemic disease. Infection can be devastating, with a high case fatality rate. Vaccination with polysaccharide vaccine can aid in prevention and control of outbreaks.




uncommon in US, but common in Africa and Asia


46% of US cases


45% of US cases


small percent of US cases


small percent of US cases


small percent of US cases


Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine

(1) specificities: A, C, Y, W-135

(2) The recommended dose is a single 0.5 mL subcutaneous injection.

(3) Each dose consists of 50 µg of each of the purified bacterial capsular polysaccharides.

(4) The vaccine does not protect against serogroup B.


High risk groups in whom vaccination should be considered:

(1) terminal complement component deficiencies (C3, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9)

(2) anatomic or functional asplenia

(3) occupational exposure to Neisseria meningitidis (research, laboratory, industrial)

(4) travelers to countries where N. meningitidis is hyperendemic or epidemic (sub-Saharan Africa during the December to June dry season, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Mongolia)

(5) military recruits

(6) possibly patients with HIV infection

(7) exposed subpopulations during potential outbreak (if the causative strain is included in the vaccine)

(8) adolescents at 11-12 and 15 years of age

(9) college freshmen


Primary vaccination:

(1) It is not recommended for children < 2 years of age due to relative ineffectiveness.

(2) It can be used in children >= 3 months for short term protection against serogroup A meningococcal disease (see below)

(3) It can be administered during pregnancy.


Age Group

Revaccination Recommendations

children 3-18 months for short term protection against serogroup A

give a second dose 3 months after first dose

children who were vaccinated when they were < 4 years of age

after 2-3 years

older children and adults

within 3-5 years


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