The bacteria that cause Meningococcal disease are spread in saliva and mucous from the mouth and nose of an infected person. They live only for a few minutes outside the body. Good hygiene provides effective protection against many infections.
- Cover one's mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Dispose of used tissues
- Wash hands
- Avoid sharing anything that comes in contact with the mouth
The following information is intended to help people assess their own risk when they know of a person who has meningococcal disease.
If a patron or staff member is infected with meningococcal disease, only close contacts with the infected individual may require preventive treatment. Bar tenders, servers and food handlers are not considered to be close contacts. Close contacts are those who may have
- Kissed the infected individual
- Shared food, eating utensils, glasses
- May have otherwise come into contact with secretions from the nose or mouth
Generally, close contacts are not likely to spread the disease and may continue their jobs. Depending on the circumstances, public health officials may recommend that close contacts receive antibiotics, vaccine, or both to prevent additional cases of meningococcal disease.
For more information about preventive treatment of close contacts, click here.
Index of Meningococcal Disease in Different Settings: