The bacteria that cause Meningococcal disease are spread in saliva and mucous from the mouth and nose of an infected person. They live only for a few minutes outside the body. Good hygiene provides effective protection against many infections.
- Cover one's mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Dispose of used tissues
- Wash hands
- Avoid sharing anything that comes in contact with the mouth
The following information is intended to help people assess their own risk when they know of a person who has meningococcal disease.
If meningococcal disease occurs in a health care setting, public health officials may recommend antibiotics, vaccine (link to vaccines) or both for close contacts with the infected individual. Close contacts are those whose nose or mouth has been contaminated with oral/nasal secretions of the infected individual through:
- Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
Chemoprophylaxis is not routinely recommended for other health care contacts, including emergency personnel. General infection control practices provide sufficient protection against meningococcal disease when carried out properly.
For more information about preventive treatment of close contacts, click here.
Index of Meningococcal Disease in Different Settings: