Meningococcal Information & RCW

Meningococcal disease

Certain people are at increased risk for Meningococcal disease:

Risk Factors;

  • Community setting
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Travel
    • Travelers to the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa may be at risk for meningococcal disease. Learn more about vaccine recommendations for travelers.

      Causes and Spread to Others:

      Causes;

      Bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis cause meningococcal disease. About 1 in 10 people have these bacteria in the back of their nose and throat with no signs or symptoms of disease; this is called being ‘a carrier’. But sometimes the bacteria invade the body and cause certain illnesses, which are known as meningococcal disease.

      There are five serogroups (types) of Neisseria meningitidis — A, B, C, W, and Y — that cause most disease worldwide. Three of these serogroups (B, C, and Y) cause most of the illness seen in the United States.

      Spread to Others;

      People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close (for example, coughing or kissing) or lengthy contact to spread these bacteria. Fortunately, they are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or the flu. People do not catch them through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been.

      Sometimes the bacteria spread to people who have had close or lengthy contact with a patient with meningococcal disease. Those at increased risk of getting sick include:

  • People who live with the patient
  • Anyone with direct contact with the patient’s oral secretions, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend

    Close contacts of someone with meningococcal disease should receive antibiotics to help prevent them from getting the disease. This is known as prophylaxis (pro-fuh-lak-sis). Health departments investigate each case of meningococcal disease to identify all close contacts and make sure they receive prophylaxis. This does not mean that the contacts have the disease; it is to prevent it. People who are not a close contact of a patient with meningococcal disease do not need prophylaxis.

    Signs and Symptoms:

    Seek medical attention immediately if you or your child develops symptoms of meningococcal disease. Symptoms of meningococcal disease can first appear as a flu-like illness and rapidly worsen. The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis and septicemia. Both of these types of infections are very serious and can be deadly in a matter of hours.

    Meningococcal Meningitis:

    Doctors call meningitis caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis meningococcal meningitis. When someone has meningococcal meningitis, the bacteria infect the protective membranes covering their brain and spinal cord and cause swelling.

     

    The most common symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Stiff neck

      There are often additional symptoms, such as

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
    • Altered mental status (confusion)

      Newborns and babies may not have or it may be difficult to notice the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Instead, babies may be slow or inactive, irritable, vomiting, or feeding poorly. In young children, doctors may also look at the child’s reflexes for signs of meningitis.

      If you think you or your child has any of these symptoms, call the doctor right away.

       

      Meningococcal Septicemia (aka Meningococcemia):

      Doctors call septicemia (a bloodstream infection) caused by Neisseria meningitidis meningococcal septicemia or meningococcemia. When someone has meningococcal septicemia, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply, damaging the walls of the blood vessels. This causes bleeding into the skin and organs.

      Symptoms may include:

    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Cold chills
    • Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest or abdomen (belly)
    • Rapid breathing
    • Diarrhea
    • In the later stages, a dark purple rash (see photos)

      If you think you or your child has any of these symptoms, call the doctor right away.

      Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications:

      Meningococcal disease is very serious and can be deadly in a matter of hours. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important.

      Diagnosis;

      Meningococcal disease can be difficult to diagnose because the signs and symptoms are often similar to those of other illnesses. If a doctor suspects meningococcal disease, they will collect samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid (fluid near the spinal cord; see image below). Doctors then test the samples to see if there is an infection and, if so, what germ is causing it. If Neisseria meningitidis bacteria are in the samples, laboratorians can grow (culture) the bacteria. Growing the bacteria in the laboratory allows doctors to know the specific type of bacteria that is causing the infection. Knowing this helps doctors decide which antibiotic will work best. Other tests can sometimes detect and identify the bacteria if the cultures do not.

      Lumbar puncture to collect sample of cerebrospinal fluid

       

       

      ©Teresa Winslow – US Government has certain rights

      Treatment

      Doctors treat meningococcal disease with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important that treatment start as soon as possible. If a doctor suspects meningococcal disease, they will give the patient antibiotics right away. Antibiotics help reduce the risk of dying.

      Depending on how serious the infection is, people with meningococcal disease may need other treatments, including:

    • Breathing support
    • Medications to treat low blood pressure
    • Wound care for parts of the body with damaged skin

      Complications

      Even with antibiotic treatment, 10 to 15 in 100 people infected with meningococcal disease will die. About 11 to 19 in 100 survivors will have long-term disabilities, such as loss of limb(s), deafness, nervous system problems, or brain damage.

       

      Prevention

      Keeping up to date with recommended immunizations is the best defense against meningococcal disease.Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not having close contact with people who are sick, also helps.

      Vaccination

      Vaccines help protect against all three serogroups (B, C, and Y) of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria commonly seen in the United States. Like with any vaccine, meningococcal vaccines are not 100% effective. This means there is still a chance you can develop meningococcal disease after vaccination. People should know the symptoms of meningococcal disease since early recognition and quick medical attention are extremely important.

      Learn more about what everyone should know about meningococcal vaccination.

       

      Antibiotics

      Close contacts of a person with meningococcal disease should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick. This is known as prophylaxis (pro-fuh-lak-sis). Examples of close contacts include:

    • People in the same household or roommates
    • Anyone with direct contact with a patient’s oral secretions (saliva or spit), such as a boyfriend or girlfriend

      Doctors or local health departments recommend who should get prophylaxis.

      Re-Infection

      If you get meningococcal disease twice, your doctor should check to see if you have an underlying immune deficiency.

      Although rare, people can get meningococcal disease more than once. A previous infection will not offer lifelong protection from future infections. Therefore, CDC recommends meningococcal vaccines for all preteens and teens. In certain situations, children and adults should also get meningococcal vaccines.

      https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html

      Meningococcal Vaccines

      Meningococcal vaccination helps protect against the types of meningococcal disease most commonly seen in the United States, but it will not prevent all cases of the disease. There are three types of meningococcal vaccines available for use in the United States:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccines
  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines

    Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines

    Meningococcal conjugate vaccines are routinely recommended for adolescents because they’re expected to give better, longer-lasting protection than the polysaccharide vaccines. These vaccines are also recommended for children ages 2 months through 10 years who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Children may be at risk due to certain medical conditions, because they are traveling to a country with high rates of meningococcal disease, or because of an outbreak in their community.

    Routine vaccination of adolescents

    Two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine are recommended for healthy adolescents 11-18 years of age.

    Adolescents who did not get their first dose during the pre-teen health visit should get a dose at the earliest opportunity. If the first dose is given between 13 and 15 years of age, the booster should be given between 16 and 18. If the first dose was given after the 16th birthday, a second dose is not needed unless they become at increased risk for the disease.

    Other people at higher risk who may need one or two doses of the vaccine

  • Military recruits.
  • Microbiologists.
  • People certain medical conditions – individuals without a spleen or immune system disorders.
  • Travelers going to places where the disease is common, such as parts of Africa.
  • People who may have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.

    More information:

  • For health care professionals
  • For parents

    Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccines

    These vaccines are not routinely recommended for kids and should be used for high-risk people older than 55 years of age.

    Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines

    There are currently two licensed serogroup B meningococcal vaccines available for people 10 years or older who are at increased risk of serogroup B meningococcal infections. Even though these vaccines are not routinely recommended for everyone, a health care provider can make the decision to vaccinate based on the person’s risk. The vaccines may be given to anyone 16 through 23 years of age with a preferred age of 16 through 18 years. The recommended schedule depends on which vaccine the person gets. The same vaccine must be used for all doses.

    State-Supplied Vaccine

  • Current State-Supplied Meningococcal-Containing Vaccines

    Vaccine Information Statements

  • Meningococcal

    Related Information

  • Vaccine Advisory Committee Recommendation For Use of the Meningococcal Vaccine (PDF)
  • VAC meningococcal B recommendations (PDF)

    External Resources

  • Vaccines and Immunizations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Find a local health department

    Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Information

  • Meningococcal disease (RCW 70.54.370)

https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/DiseasesandVaccines/MeningococcalVaccine

 

 

 

 

 

RCW 28A.210.080

Immunization program—Attendance of child conditioned upon presentation of alternative proofs—Information regarding meningococcal disease—Information regarding human papillomavirus disease.

(1) The attendance of every child at every public and private school in the state and licensed day care center shall be conditioned upon the presentation before or on each child's first day of attendance at a particular school or center, of proof of either (a) full immunization, (b) the initiation of and compliance with a schedule of immunization, as required by rules of the state board of health, or (c) a certificate of exemption as provided for in RCW 28A.210.090. The attendance at the school or the day care center during any subsequent school year of a child who has initiated a schedule of immunization shall be conditioned upon the presentation of proof of compliance with the schedule on the child's first day of attendance during the subsequent school year. Once proof of full immunization or proof of completion of an approved schedule has been presented, no further proof shall be required as a condition to attendance at the particular school or center.

(2)(a) Beginning with sixth grade entry, every public and private school in the state shall provide parents and guardians with information about meningococcal disease and its vaccine at the beginning of every school year. The information about meningococcal disease shall include:

(i) Its causes and symptoms, how meningococcal disease is spread, and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children; and

(ii) Current recommendations from the United States centers for disease control and prevention regarding the receipt of vaccines for meningococcal disease and where the vaccination can be received.

(b) This subsection shall not be construed to require the department of health or the school to provide meningococcal vaccination to students.

(c) The department of health shall prepare the informational materials and shall consult with the office of superintendent of public instruction.

(d) This subsection does not create a private right of action.

(3)(a) Beginning with sixth grade entry, every public school in the state shall provide parents and guardians with information about human papillomavirus disease and its vaccine at the beginning of every school year. The information about human papillomavirus disease shall include:

(i) Its causes and symptoms, how human papillomavirus disease is spread, and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children; and

(ii) Current recommendations from the United States centers for disease control and prevention regarding the receipt of vaccines for human papillomavirus disease and where the vaccination can be received.

(b) This subsection shall not be construed to require the department of health or the school to provide human papillomavirus vaccination to students.

(c) The department of health shall prepare the informational materials and shall consult with the office of the superintendent of public instruction.

(d) This subsection does not create a private right of action.

(4) Private schools are required by state law to notify parents that information on the human papillomavirus disease prepared by the department of health is available.

2007 c 276 § 1; 2005 c 404 § 1; 1990 c 33 § 192; 1985 c 49 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 118 § 3. Formerly RCW 28A.31.104.]

NOTES:

Effective dateSeverability1979 ex.s. c 118: See notes following RCW 28A.210.060.

 


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