Sanofi Pasteur: The vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis Group

Image of adolescent child with basketball. Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective layer around the brain and spinal cord.2


So what is meningitis? Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective layer around the brain and spinal cord.2 This inflammation can be caused by a virus, a bacterium, or even a fungus.2,6

  • Viral meningitis is the most common form.2 It is serious but generally not life threatening, and it usually goes away in 7 to 10 days.7
  • Bacterial meningitis is rare, but it is very serious and potentially fatal.4,8 It includes meningococcal disease.2

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium called meningococcus.2,4 In addition to meningitis, meningococcus can cause other serious infections. For example, it can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection called meningococcal sepsis.4,9

Meningococcal disease, which includes both meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal sepsis, can progress quickly.2,4,9 It can make an infant or teenager very sick and may even be life threatening.2,4,9-13

There's a vaccine available to help prevent meningococcal disease and its potentially deadly complications.3,14

Meningococcal meningitis symptoms

Meningococcal meningitis can be difficult to diagnose because its most common symptoms – fever, headache, and muscle pain – may be similar to those of influenza (flu).2,4,13,15 The symptoms of meningitis can occur suddenly and include:1,2,4,9,16

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck or other muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Seizures

If your child has symptoms – especially if they’ve been around someone with meningitis – contact a doctor immediately. When it comes to treating this potentially deadly disease, speed is essential.2,13,15

Don’t take chances with meningitis.

How meningococcal meningitis spreads

Meningococcal disease spreads just like the flu, passing from person to person through everyday activities.1,2,4 Some people carrying the bacteria never get sick, so they might pass it to others without knowing.1,4

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers and young adults are most likely to get meningitis.4 Research has shown that the following activities put teenagers and young adults at greater risk1,2,17,18:

  • Living in close quarters, such as college dormitories
  • Being in crowded situations for prolonged periods of time
  • Sharing drinking glasses, water bottles, or eating utensils
  • Kissing
  • Smoking or being exposed to smoke
  • Staying out late and having irregular sleeping patterns, which weakens the immune system

You can’t monitor everything your kids do. But you can help protect your child against meningococcal disease with Menactra vaccine.3,14


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Important Safety Information


Menactra vaccine is indicated for active immunization to prevent invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135. Menactra vaccine is approved for use in individuals 9 months through 55 years of age. Menactra vaccine does not prevent N meningitidis serogroup B disease.

Safety Information

The most common local and systemic adverse reactions to Menactra vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site and appetite loss (all age groups); induration at the injection site and diarrhea (all age groups except infants); irritability and drowsiness (infants and children); abnormal crying, vomiting, and fever (infants); headache, fatigue, malaise, and arthralgia (adolescents and adults). Other adverse reactions may occur.

Menactra vaccine is contraindicated in persons with a known hypersensitivity (eg, anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine. Persons previously diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) may be at increased risk of GBS following receipt of Menactra vaccine. GBS has been reported in temporal relationship following administration of Menactra vaccine. The decision to give Menactra vaccine should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks. Syncope (fainting) can occur in association with administration of injectable vaccines, including Menactra vaccine. Procedures should be in place to prevent falling injury and manage syncopal reactions. Vaccination with Menactra vaccine may not protect all individuals.

Before administering Menactra vaccine, please see accompanying full Prescribing Information.