Acute contagious illness, characterised by fever, petechial or purpuric rash, and signs of sepsis and/or meningitis.
May progress rapidly to septic shock, with hypotension, acidosis, and DIC.
Highest rates of invasive infection are in children under 5 years of age, especially under 1 year of age, with a second peak occurring in 11- to 22-year-olds and third peak in people >65 years of age.
Diagnosis confirmed by isolation of Neisseria meningitidis from a normally sterile body site.
Confirmed meningococcal infection is treated with a third-generation cephalosporin. Where a cephalosporin is not appropriate, choice of agent is based on individual patient circumstances, antimicrobial susceptibilities, and local availability.
Case fatality rate is 10% to 15%. Between 10% and 20% of survivors have moderate to severe sequelae, including hearing loss, motor and cognitive disabilities, blindness, or ischaemic injuries of the skin or extremities.
Meningococcal infections are caused by Neisseria meningitidis , a gram-negative diplococcus that colonises the nasopharynx. Bacteria invade the bloodstream or spread within the respiratory tract. A confirmed case is a clinically compatible illness with isolation of N meningitidis from a normally sterile body site.  Probable cases include those with a positive DNA amplification test performed on blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or detection of antigen in CSF or by immunohistochemical staining on formalin-fixed tissue.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center
EA declares that she has no competing interests.
Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch
NM declares that she has no competing interests.
Professor of Pediatrics
VD declares that she has no competing interests.
Clinical Epidemiology Unit
Marilia Medical School
LOC declares that she has no competing interests.
Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine
Hospital for Tropical Diseases
KA declares that she has no competing interests.
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