Close Contacts

Close contacts of a case of meningococcal disease may be given an antibiotic to protect them against getting infected including rifampin, ciprofloxacin, or ceftriaxone.

Rifampin is taken by mouth twice a day for two days. Rifampin can cause urine, saliva, and tears to turn a reddish-orange color. Contact lenses should not be worn while taking rifampin. This drug can also make birth control pills less effective. A woman "on the pill" should use a backup method such as condoms and foam until starting the next package of pills. Pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, and those with jaundice or liver disease should not take rifampin.

Ciprofloxacin is given by mouth as a single dose. It is used only in adults and children over 10 years of age. It cannot be used in pregnant women.

Ceftriaxone is given as a single injection into a muscle. It is quite painful, but very effective.