The natural habitat and reservoir for meningococci is the mucosal surfaces of the human nasopharynx and, to a lesser extent, the urogenital tract and anal canal. Approximately 5-10% of adults are asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carriers, but that number increases to as many as 60-80% of members of closed populations (eg, military recruits in camps).
Since 1960, the incidence of meningococcal meningitis in the United States has been stable, at approximately 0.9-1.5 cases per 100,000 people per year. Most cases occur during winter and early spring.According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 15% of those who survive are left with disabilities that include deafness, brain damage, and neurological problems.
Meningococcal disease is potentially fatal and should always be viewed as a medical emergency. Admission to a hospital or health centre is necessary, although isolation of the patient is not necessary. Appropriate antibiotic treatment must be started as soon as possible, ideally after the lumbar puncture has been carried out if such a puncture can be performed immediately.
Major research on disease:
Communication Challenges During the Development and Introduction of a New Meningococcal Vaccine in Africa.If treatment is started prior to the lumbar puncture it may be difficult to grow the bacteria from the spinal fluid and confirm the diagnosis.These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections .