An uncommon but potentially fatal disease
Meningococcal group B disease (also known as meningitis B) is an uncommon but serious disease that is caused by a bacterial infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can also cause a severe infection of the blood called meningococcal septicemia.
Meningitis B can strike otherwise healthy people without warning and can progress quickly and be potentially fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. Up to 1 in 5 survivors will have long-term consequences, including brain damage, hearing loss and loss of limbs.
How you can get meningitis B
The bacteria that cause meningitis B live within the nose and throat and can be spread through close contact such as coughing, kissing or sneezing.
Certain everyday behaviors can increase the risk of getting meningitis B, particularly for teens and young adults, including:
Symptoms of meningitis B
Initial symptoms can be confusing and similar to those of the flu. However, symptoms can progress rapidly and can lead to death, sometimes within 24 hours.
Symptoms may include:
Additional symptoms may include, among others, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity of the eyes to light, confusion, and a rash (typically dark purple spots on the torso, arms, or legs).
If you are experiencing these symptoms or if you have been in close contact with someone who has meningitis, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.