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.
Coaching personnel, athletes and others involved in the sports team should avoid sharing anything that has come into contact with the mouth of tongue of other team members:
- Water bottles
- Mouth guards
- Breathing apparatus such as face masks, snorkels, SCUBA mouthpieces and nose plugs
In the event of a case of meningococcal disease in a sports team setting, public health officials may recommend antibiotics, vaccine or both to close contacts of the infected person. Close contacts are athletes who participate in a sport with close face-to-face interaction with infected individuals, who have kissed infected individuals or those who have shared
- Water bottles and other items listed above
- Overnight accommodations
- Food, beverages or eating utensils
- Cigarettes, lipstick, toothbrushes or other personal items
Close contacts do not pose a risk to others and may continue participating in sport activities.
For more information about preventive treatment of close contacts, click here.
Index of Meningococcal Disease in Different Settings: