Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus . These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
However, about as many survivors of the disease lose a limb or their hearing, or suffer permanent brain damage. The sepsis type of infection is much more deadly, and results in a severe blood poisoning called meningococcal sepsis that affects the entire body. In this case, bacterial toxins rupture blood vessels and can rapidly shut down vital organs. Within hours, patient's health can change from seemingly good to mortally ill.
For unknown reasons, incidence has declined since the peak of disease in the late 1990s, and approximately 800–1,200 cases are reported annually. This decline began before implementation of routine use of meningococcal vaccines in adolescents and have occurred in all serogroups.Even with antibiotics, approximately 1 in 10 victims of meningococcal meningitis will die.
Meningococcal disease can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important that treatment be started as soon as possible. If meningococcal disease is suspected, antibiotics are given right away.Even with antibiotic treatment, 10 to 15 out of 100 people infected with meningococcal disease will die.
Major research on disease:
Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Study on such things as breathing support, medications to treat low blood pressure, and wound care for parts of the body with damaged skin.