Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The bacterium is often detected in the nasopharynx without causing disease, a situation described as asymptomatic carriage. The bacteria occasionally invade the body and cause meningococcal infection, which is an acute severe bacterial infection. Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a major cause of meningitis and septicaemia. The disease often has a rapid progression, with an 8–15% case-fatality ratio. The highest incidence occurs in young children, with a second disease peak among adolescents and young adults.
Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium with human carriers as the only reservoir. It is carried in the nose, where it can remain for long periods without producing symptoms.
Threats and outbreaks
Disease threats and outbreaks reports; Communicable disease threats report, Risk assessments.
ECDC promotes the performance of external quality assessment (EQA) schemes, in which laboratories are sent simulated clinical specimens or bacterial isolates for testing by routine or reference laboratory methods.
Systematic reviews, expert opinions and public health guidance on meningococcal disease
Immunisation and vaccines
Vaccines are one of the most effective and cost-saving public health interventions.Learn more about immunisation and vaccines
ECDC Vaccine Scheduler
The Vaccine Scheduler is an interactive tool that shows vaccination schedules for individual EU/EEA countries and specific age groups.View the vaccine scheduler
Rapid risk assessment: Public health risks related to communicable diseases during the hajj 2019, Saudi Arabia, 9–14 August 2019
No consistent increased mortality risk for females compared to males in invasive meningococcal disease in the European Surveillance System (TESSy)
The epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease in EU/EEA countries, 2004–2014