Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening illness. It is caused by bacteria that infect the blood, brain, and spinal cord. It is one of the most serious causes of meningitis. It is caused by any type (serogroup) of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. Vaccines can prevent most types of meningococcal disease. This website includes information for patients, parents, and health care providers about the vaccines that prevent meningococcal disease.
Where can I learn more about meningococcal disease?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) meningococcal disease website provides useful information for patients and providers.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services meningococcal disease website includes information on the occurrence of disease in Wisconsin and how health care providers should respond to outbreaks occurring in Wisconsin.
Which vaccines prevent meningococcal disease?
Adolescents and Young Adults: There are two types of meningococcal vaccines that are typically received during adolescence and young adulthood.
- MenACWY (MCV4) vaccine prevents infection with meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, and Y.
- The brand names of these vaccines are Menactra® and Menveo®. They may also be noted as “MCV4” on the vaccination record.
- This vaccine is routinely recommended for all adolescents at 11-12 years of age and a booster dose is recommended between 16 and 18 years of age. Adolescents who receive a first dose after their 16th birthday do not need a booster dose unless they become at increased risk for meningococcal disease.
- Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine prevents infection with meningococcal serogroup B.
- The brand names of the meningococcal B vaccines are Trumenba® and Bexero®.
- This vaccine first became available in 2015 and has been recommended for adolescents at the discretion of their medical provider. In addition, adolescents and young adults at high risk of meningococcal disease are recommended to receive MenB vaccine.
- Depending on the brand of vaccine first received, you will need either two or three doses of vaccine to be fully protected.
- Trumenba® and Bexero® are not interchangeable; the same vaccine product must be used for all doses.
Adults: Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for some adults.
- MenACWY (MCV4) vaccine is recommended for adults in certain high risk groups.
- Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (brand name Menomune®) is recommended for adults age 56 years and older who are in certain high-risk groups.
- Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine is recommended for adults in certain high-risk groups.
Babies and Children: Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for some babies and children.
How can I look up my (or my child's) vaccination record?
You can look up your vaccination record in the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) by clicking this link. Then, enter your name and social security number, Medicaid ID, or Health Care Member ID. If you are unable to find your record, contact your medical provider or local health department for assistance. Parents may also look up their child's vaccination record using the same method.
How do I know if I have received meningococcal B vaccine when looking at my Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) record?
MenACWY (MCV4) vaccine: The "Vaccine Group" labeled “Meningo” indicates vaccination with the vaccine that protects against serogroups A, C, W and Y. Many adolescents routinely receive a dose of this vaccine at 11-12 years of age and a booster dose between 16 and 18 years of age.
Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine: If meningococcal B vaccine has been received, “Meningo B” will be listed as the "Vaccine Group" on the vaccine history. This vaccine first became available in 2015 and has been recommended for adolescents at the discretion of their medical provider. Depending on the brand of vaccine first received, you will need either two or three doses of vaccine to be fully protected.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Contact your health care provider or local health department to learn about getting vaccinated.
Vaccine Finder can also help you find locations for vaccination.
Where can I find more information about meningococcal disease and vaccines?
- Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know (CDC)
- Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations by Age and Risk Factor for Serogroups A, C, W, or Y Protection (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations by Age and Risk Factor for Serogroup B Protection (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Meningitis and Prevention (University of Wisconsin Health Services)
- Vaccine Finder (vaccinefinder.org)
Recommendations and Vaccine Information Statements
- MenACWY (MCV4) Vaccination Information Statement (CDC)
- Meningococcal B (MenB) Vaccination Information Statement (CDC)
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations (CDC)
- Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations (PDF, 230 KB) (Wisconsin Department of Health Services)
Important information for health care providers
Update on meningococcal serogroup B among UW-Madison students (November 14, 2016) (PDF, 231 KB)
Meningococcal serogroup B among UW-Madison students (October 20, 2016) (PDF, 72 KB)
Other important information regarding meningococcal disease occurrence and disease management in Wisconsin can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services meningococcal disease website.
Webinar from November 11, 2016 update on Men B UW-Madison.