A to Z
Data &
Forms &
News &
Licensing &
Rules &
Public Health

Meningococcal disease (vaccine-preventable)


Meningococcal disease is serious and can be fatal, though 90%-95% of the people it infects recover with antibiotic therapy. Although Oregon's meningococcal disease rates remain above the national average, it is still uncommon here. Case rates have been declining ever since 1994, when 136 cases were reported statewide. 

Meningococcal vaccine is effective against four serogroups (A, C, Y, and W-135) of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacterium that causes meningococcal disease. While the vaccine is not effective against serogroup B, which causes approximately 50% of the cases recently in Oregon, it is still important for adolescents to be immunized between 11-12 years of age and a booster dose given between 16-18 years per the current CDC ACIP recommendations. 
This is true for college students, too, among whom the disease is rare. A total of six cases occurred in Oregon college students between 1993 and 1999, or about 0.7 cases per 100,000 college students per year — less than the statewide average. Of these six cases, three were caused by serogroup B, and so were not vaccine-preventable. The risk of vaccine-preventable meningococcal disease, is, therefore, low among Oregon college students. The cost of the vaccine is high — about $70 per dose. College freshmen who want to reduce their already low risk can consider getting meningococcal vaccine if they think it is worth the cost.

Meningococcal disease is not highly contagious. Close contacts of cases (household members, day-care-center classroom contacts, close friends) are at elevated risk of disease; after a case occurs, these persons should take antibiotics to prevent the infection. School classmates, those living in other dormitory rooms, and health-care workers attending the case are generally not at elevated risk.

Disease Reporting

What is required?

Health care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report cases and suspect cases of Meningococcal Meningitis to local health departments within 24 hours of identification.

Disease reporting form for health-care practitioners (.pdf)

See our disease reporting page for information on how to report and for telephone numbers of local health departments.

For county health departments:

Meningococcal disease: Investigative guidelines (pdf)
Meningococcal disease: Case report form (pdf)

Interim guidance for control of serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreaks in organizational settings (pdf) (CDC)

Model Standing Orders for Vaccine

Model Standing Orders for Prophylaxis of Contacts (pdf)


ABCs monthly surveillance report (pdf)

Neisseria meningitidis Annual Surveillance Report (pdf): 201220112010  | 2009 | 2008 |  2007  | 2006 2005 from the Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) project 

Meningococcal disease statistics (pdf)  from the 2013 Oregon Communicable Disease Summary

Health Notice: Concerns about meningococcal disease in men who have sex with men (4/22/2013) (pdf)

Please Note: The ABCs project includes only culture-confirmed cases of N. meningitidis, while the case reporting definition, reflected in the Oregon Communicable Disease Summary, includes additional diagnostic results.  Therefore, there may be slight differences between the two reports in the number of cases reported for a given year.

See Also
Our meningococcal disease fact sheet answers some common questions about Meningococcal Disease, including disease prevention measures. Oregon disease surveillance data links appear below.