Neisseria meningitidis is a type of bacteria that can cause serious, life threatening infections such as meningococcemia and meningitis.
These infections are often spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing glasses or utensils, close physical contact, or touching an unwashed hand.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of meningococcemia are fever, aches, loss of appetite, and development of a rash. The rash starts as small red dots and progresses to large bruises. Within hours, a child can be overcome by the infections and develop shock and organ failure.
Signs and symptoms of meningococcal meningitis are similar to meningitis caused by other bacteria—fever, decreased appetite, irritability, excessive sleepiness, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, and back pain.
When to Call Your Pediatrician
Because timely treatment is important for meningococcal infections, contact your pediatrician immediately if you notice that your child has any of the symptoms that have been described.