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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 ?
The second case involves a suspected not yet confirmed invasive meningococcus infection in a child from the Horehronie (Upper Hron) region of central Slovakia, aged five, who suddenly got sick on January 4.
Identification of Meningococcus dates back to the 19th century when Weichselbaum first discovered it in a patient's CSF.
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This severe bacterial infectious disease, causing meningitis and sepsis, is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, or the meningococcus, and has humans as its only reservoir.
The post mortem, which was completed late on Saturday, showed that the child died "of an infection that destroyed the adrenal glands, possibly meningococcus."
The university system announced that, starting in 2017, it will require all students to receive vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough.
In the past few years, well-publicized outbreaks of meningococcus B have occurred on some university campuses.
ABIVAX has signed an agreement with The Finlay Institute, Havana, Cuba, that will allow it to commercialize vaccines against typhoid, meningococcus, and leptospirosis, in Asian and Latin American markets.
Most recently, he was director of the Vaccine Development Global Program at PATH, where he built and advanced the development of vaccines against pneumococcus, rotavirus, ETEC, shigella, meningococcus, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, polio and Japanese encephalitis.
Vaccines are available in the United States for warding off four types of the meningococcus. There is no vaccine directed at the fifth, the type B form.