Is bacterial meningitis contagious?

You should encourage anyone who you have come into close contact with to seek preventative treatment. Anyone who you have had casual contact with should not be affected.

Is there a vaccine for bacterial meningitis?

Yes, there are two kind of vaccines available for meningitis in the United States. One type is called a meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY); brand names are Mentactra® and Menveo®. The other type is a Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine; brand names are Bexsero® and Trumenba®. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agency has specific guidelines regarding who should receive the vaccine.

The CDC recommends MenACWY vaccine for:

  • All children aged 11-12 years old, with a booster dose at 16 years old.
  • Children and adults who are at higher risk of disease due to:
    • Complement component deficiency
    • Compromised spleen function
    • HIV

The CDC recommends the MenB vaccine be given to people who are 10 years old or older who have risk factors for meningococcal disease.

The CDC does not recommend the vaccine for:

  • Anyone who has ever had a severe (life threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine.
  • Anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any vaccine component. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.

The CDC recommends that the following individuals wait before receiving the vaccine or talk further with their doctor about the need for the vaccine:

  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time of their scheduled appointment to receive their shot should wait until they recover.
  • Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome should discuss getting the vaccine with his or her doctor.
  • Pregnant women should only get the vaccine if it is clearly needed. Discuss the need with your doctor.

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