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  • Meningococcal ACWY
  • Disease Issues
  • Meningococcal B
  • Disease Issues

What groups are at increased risk for meningococcal disease?

In addition to risk based on age, non-specific risk factors for serogroups A, C, W and Y include having a previous viral infection, living in a crowded household, having an underlying chronic illness, and being exposed to cigarette smoke (either directly or second-hand).

The following groups are at increased risk for all meningococcal serogroups:

  • People with persistent (genetic) complement component deficiencies (a type of immune system disorder)
  • People who use complement inhibitors such as eculizumab (Soliris, Alexion Pharmaceuticals) and ravulizumab (Ultomiris, Alexion Pharmaceuticals) for treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • People with anatomic or functional asplenia
  • Microbiologists routinely exposed to meningococcal isolates in a laboratory
  • People at increased risk during an outbreak of meningococcal disease
  • Military recruits
  • College students

Certain groups are at increased risk of serogroups A, C, W and Y, but not serogroup B:

  • People living with HIV
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Travelers to countries where meningococcal disease is endemic or hyperendemic, such as the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa
Last reviewed: July 15, 2023

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