Meningitis or meningococcal disease is a bacterial illness that leads to inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. The meningitis vaccine protects against this disease.
Meningitis is typically caused by a virus. However, bacteria and fungi can also cause meningitis. As such, meningitis is usually contracted by inhaling airborne droplets. Patients with meningitis can experience headaches, fevers, and a stiff neck. Meningitis can vary in severity depending on what causes it. In some cases, meningitis will go away on its own. In serious cases, it can be life-threatening. Antibiotic treatment is required for patients who experience more severe forms of meningitis.
Many colleges and boarding schools require students who live in the dorms to get the meningitis vaccine. Children around the ages of 11 and 12 should also be vaccinated and receive a booster dose when they are 16.