What is meningococcal What are the symptoms? How is bacterial meningitis
People become very ill very quickly.
• It is an infection caused by bacteria • Through contact with saliva
Symptoms to watch for are:
• The bacteria can cause a blood • Through droplets from coughing or
infection or meningitis, or both. • Sudden high fever sneezing
• Intense headache, and/or stiff neck • Through very close contact, as in
cuddling and kissing.
• Feeling very tired or weak.
• Sometimes vomiting
What about close contacts?
• A pinpoint rash or bruising often
appears where pressure to the skin • Medicine may be needed to protect
occurs (where socks or underwear household members and other close
rub). It may appear as pink or purple contacts from getting sick.
raised areas that become larger.
• People who feel they may have been
The rash is an important sign that this exposed to bacterial meningitis
person needs to see a doctor right should contact the Health Department
away. This is an EMERGENCY! to learn if they need to take the
• Symptoms very quickly develop into
What is meningitis? irritability, confusion, drowsiness and
• Meningitis is a serious illness of the What else?
• See a doctor right away to diagnose
• Diagnosis is made by testing the and treat this serious illness
spinal fluid (spinal tap).
• Use good handwashing.
• Bacterial meningitis is life
threatening and requires immediate
MCHD provides services without
regard to race, religion, color, national
origin, sex, age, marital status, mental
or physical disability, political Meningococcal
affiliation or sexual orientation.
If you have questions, call:
Marion County Health Dept
3180 Center St NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 588-5400 TDD
03/2003 English - Meningococcal Disease