Risk behaviors icon

Help fight meningitis by helping your adolescent patients understand that they may be at risk for MenB

A potential threat

Regardless of serogroup, meningococcal disease is transmitted through respiratory secretions or saliva. While uncommon, this could put adolescents at an increased risk of contracting meningococcal disease due to their age-related behaviors.1

Some of the behaviors known to increase the risk of spreading this disease are2-4:

Coughing icon


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Sharing utensils and drinks icon

Sharing eating utensils, drinks, and smoking devices

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Living in close quarters

Incidence of Meningococcal Disease Among Adolescents and Young Adults by Serogroup, According to CDC, 2014-20165

Incidence of Meningococcal Disease graph

Source: National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System data with additional serogroup data from Active Bacterial Care surveillance and state health departments.

Unknown serogroup and other serogroups excluded.

CDC data from 2014-2016 showed a peak in the incidence of MenB in adolescents and young adults between 18-20 years of age, regardless of college attendance.6

Did you know there are vaccines for meningococcal disease?


Vaccination may not protect all recipients.

CDC=Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; MenB=meningococcal serogroup B.


  1. Pelton SI. Meningococcal disease awareness: clinical and epidemiological factors affecting prevention and management in adolescents. J Adsolesc Health. 2010;46:S9-S15.
  2. McNamara LA, Blain A. Meningococcal disease. In: Roush SW, Baldy LM, eds. Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Updated January 5, 2022. Accessed January 11, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html
  3. Meningococcal disease: causes and how it spreads. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated February 7, 2022. Accessed January 11, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/causes-transmission.html
  4. Meningitis. Mayo Clinic. Updated October 4, 2023. Accessed January 11, 2024. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/meningitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350508
  5. Meyer S. Epidemiology of meningococcal disease among college students—United States, 2014-2016. Presented at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting; February 22, 2018. Accessed January 11, 2024. https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/59918
  6. Mbaeyi SA, Joseph SJ, Blain A, et al. Meningococcal disease among college-aged young adults: 2014–2016. Pediatrics. 2019;143(1):1-8.