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Meningococcal disease (vaccine-preventable)


Meningococcal disease is serious and can be fatal, though 90 to 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.

There are 13 types (serogroups) of Neisseria meningitidis, nine of which cause invasive disease (A, B, C, D, X, Y, Z, 29E and W-135). Serogroup B is by far the most common cause of meningococcal disease in Oregon, accounting for about 50% of cases. Meningococcal vaccines are effective against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135; until recently, there were no serogroup B meningococcal vaccines licensed for use in the United States.

The risk of vaccine-preventable meningococcal disease is low among Oregon college students. From 2010-2014, a total of 127 cases of meningococcal disease were reported to Oregon Health Authority; two of those occurred in Oregon college students. Both of those cases were caused by serogroup Y. College freshmen who want to reduce their already low risk can consider getting meningococcal vaccine.

Meningococcal disease is not highly contagious. Close contacts of cases (household members, daycare 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 healthcare 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:

Model Standing Orders


ABCs monthly surveillance report (pdf)

Neisseria meningitidis Annual Surveillance Report from the Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) project: (pdf files)
2015 | 2014201220112010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 2005 

Meningococcal disease statistics (pdf) from the 2015 Oregon Communicable Disease Summary

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

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
The CDC meningococcal disease fact sheet answers some common questions about meningococcal disease, including disease prevention measures. Oregon disease surveillance data links appear below.