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A major human pathogen belonging to the bacterial genus Neisseria, and the cause of meningococcal meningitis and meningococcemia. The official designation is N. meningitidis. The meningococcus is a gram-negative, aerobic, nonmotile diplococcus. It is fastidious in its growth requirements and is very susceptible to adverse physical and chemical conditions.

Humans are the only known natural host of the meningococcus. Transmission occurs by droplets directly from person to person. Fomites and aerosols are probably unimportant in the spread of the organism. The most frequent form of host-parasite relationship is asymptomatic carriage in the nasopharynx.

The most common clinical syndrome caused by the meningococcus is meningitis, which is characterized by fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and neck stiffness and has a fatality rate of 15% (higher in infants and adults over 60). Disturbance of the state of consciousness quickly occurs, leading to stupor and coma. Many cases also have a typical skin rash consisting of petechiae or purpura. See Meningitis


Common name for Neisseria meningitidis.
References in periodicals archive ?
The meningococcal disease surveillance in the US military produces a quarterly report, which is available online: http://www.
Recent outbreaks of serogroup B Meningococcal disease on a few college campuses have heightened concerns for this potentially deadly disease, said Karen Midthun, M.
Five out of the several serogroups are known to cause meningococcal disease.
Cases of meningococcal disease have long plagued the United States military," the study authors said, with incidences as high as 150 cases per 100,000 person-years during World War I and 80 per 100,000 during World War II.
The other two meningococcal vaccines are available in the United States are the polysaccharide vaccine MPSV4 (Menomune, Sanofi-Pasteur) and the conjugate vaccine MCV4 (Menactra, Sanofi-Pasteur).
Among the meningococcal cases, 17 (19%) of mothers were pregnant during the hospitalization, 6 were in their first or second trimester, and the rest were in their third trimester (Pediatrics 2005;115:590-3).
Health managers say they are around five years away from developing a vaccine for meningococcal B infections.
A spokesman for Southport and Formby Primary Care Trust, said: ``We can confirm that a 17-year-old boy was admitted to hospital last week with suspected meningococcal disease.
In 1997, the number of reported cases hit 261 - Scotland's highest incidence of meningococcal infection since 1975.
The global meningococcal vaccines market is studied on the basis of vaccine types such as polysaccharide, conjugate, and combination vaccines that are further segmented into different brands.
Tenders are invited for Supply of Meningococcal Vaccines for the 2015 ICG emergency stockpile.