The meningococcal bacteria is a relatively rare but potentially fatal disease that causes meningitis which affects the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Infection can progress to death within 24 to 48 hours, or lead to permanent disabilities such as hearing loss, brain damage, or loss of limbs. It is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions.
Persons who live or work in close quarters with others such as college students as well as those traveling to endemic regions, should consider the vaccine.
Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for college students, those enrolling in the military, and travelers to endemic countries.