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Health Issues

Meningococcal Infections

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
  • 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. They include:

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.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
Adapted from Immunizations & Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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