Meningococcal Disease (N. meningitidis)

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed an increase in the number of invasive meningococcal disease infections. SHWC is encouraging students to review their immunization status and make sure that they are protected from this highly contagious illness.

College students are at a higher risk of meningococcal disease.

What is Meningococcal Disease?

N. meningitidis graphic

Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. These illnesses are often severe, can be deadly, and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream.

 It is spread from person to person by coming in close contact with someone who is sick or who carries the bacteria. The bacteria can be spread by:

  • Sharing anything that comes in contact with saliva, like eating utensils, food or drinks;
  • Being in close quarters with someone;
  • Being sneezed or cough on; or
  • Kissing


Symptoms of meningococcal disease can first appear as a flu-like illness and rapidly worsen. If you have any symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck

Additional symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
  • Altered mental status (confusion)

Protect Yourself and Others

The best way to prevent meningococcal disease is to get vaccinated. Two separate meningitis vaccines are necessary to be fully immunized against the disease: MenACWY and MenB.

Meningococcal disease strain B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis on college campuses.  Make sure you have BOTH meningitis vaccines to fully protect yourself and those around you.

Meningococcal Infographic

Next Steps

If you are not sure that you are up to date on your meningitis vaccines, please call SHWC at 404-756-1241.

If you are ready to protect yourself and get the meningitis vaccine, visit Point and Click , to schedule an appointment. SHWC is happy to offer both the MenACWY and MenB to those students who need them.