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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

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Common name for Neisseria meningitidis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Eculizumab treatment and impaired opsonophagocytic killing of meningococci by whole blood from immunized adults.
Neisseria meningitidis contains a polysaccharide capsule, which protects meningococci against the host immune system and from serum bactericidal activity.
The factors associated with periodic meningococcal outbreaks are not well understood, but they likely include waning population immunity to circulating meningococci, in conjunction with meningococcal carriage and transmission (6,7).
[Universal vaccination against group-C meningococci and pneumococci; summary of the advice from the Health Counsil of the Netherlands].
* If vaccinations against Hib, pneumococci, and meningococci are not included in the national vaccination programs, these vaccinations are recommended for children with rheumatic diseases who have low complement levels or functional asplenia.
The transcription profile of the co-cultured meningococci was compared to that of meningococci grown in the same system in the absence of a N.
They are the generic equivalent of sanofi-aventis' Rifadin capsules and are indicated for the treatment of all forms of tuberculosis as well as for the treatment of asymptomatic carriers of neisseria meningitidis to eliminate meningococci from the nasopharynx.
BioVeris already has licensed from Baxter and others, exclusive rights to commercialize products for possible use in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease caused by Group A streptococci, Group B streptococci, Pneumococci, and Group B meningococci. The vaccine candidates covered by the new Technology License Agreement are similarly based on a conjugate technology platform and also include recombinant protein antigens.
"Intimate kissing has been shown to be a risk factor for the carriage of meningococci in university students and it is likely that intimate kissing with multiple partners increases the risk of transmission."
Meningococcal vaccine has also been recommended for those in high-risk groups: those with anatomical or functional asplenia, those with terminal complement component deficiency, laboratory and research personnel with potential exposure to meningococci, and travelers to areas with endemic meningococcal disease.
A routine vaccination against group C meningococci was phased in from November 1999.