Meningococcemia risk factors
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Risk factors of meningococcemia include age group of infants or old age, closed communities, seasons of winter and early spring, complement deficiency, asplenia and travel to endemic regions especially sub-Saharan African meningitis belt.
- Certain groups of people are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.
- Episodic epidemic nature of meningococcal meningitis particularly among young children and military recruits was known since the 18th century.
- Epidemics occur generally among poorest groups where crowding and lack of sanitation are common.
- The bacteria can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.
- Family members and those closely exposed to someone with the condition are at increased risk.
- The infection occurs more frequently in winter and early spring.
- For some of these groups, there are recommended vaccines that prevent two of the three major serogroups ("strains") of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria that cause most illness in the United States
- Adolescents and young adults 16 through 21 years of age have higher rates of meningococcal disease.
- Infants are also at higher risk for meningococcal disease.
- More than 50% of meningococcal disease in children 0-6 months is caused by serogroup B; serogroup Y is also more prevalent in this age group.
- There are certain diseases, medications and surgical procedures that may weaken the immune system and increase risk ofmeningococcal disease like the following conditions.
Community Setting as a Risk Factor
- College students, especially first-year college students living in residence halls, are at a slightly increased risk for meningococcal disease compared with other persons of the same age.
- Closed communities such as prisons have a high incidence of meningococcal infections
- Travelers to the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa may be at risk for meningococcal disease, particularly during the dry season.
Risk Factors for Epidemics
- Several conditions have been associated with development of epidemics in meningococcal belt.
- They include the following.