Anatomy: Meningococcal is a bacterial infection that involves inflammation of the meninges and can lead to a serious blood infection.

Physiology: Can cause fever, fatigue, vomiting, cold hands and feet, chills, severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest or abdomen, rapid breathing, diarrhea, and/or a dark purple rash (puerperal or petechial rash), in later stages. It can also cause blood infection.

Rate of meningococcal disease, by age group — United States, 2002–2011

The vaccine was approved in the US in 1978 and since then meningococcal cases have droppped drastically. Before the vaccine, ana average of 4,800 cases were reported anually. Now only 600-1,000 people get meningococcal each year in the U.S.

VACCINE: The vaccine is made up of Meningococcal bacteria that cannot cause infection. It contains bacteria that activates the body’s immune system. White blood cells – APCs, B cells, and T-cells – recognize, destroy and “remember” this version of the bacteria. It causes the body to make antibodies against Meningococcal bacteria. This way, the immune system can quickly recognize and destroy the disease later on. No type of meningococcal vaccine contains live meningococcal bacteria.

The Meningococcal Vaccine has played a vital role in the overall health of people and the prevention of this harmful disease.

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