Meningitis: What Parents Need To Know

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed a camper at an overnight  camp passed away from a Neisseria Meningitidis infection.

The Health Department is directly involved and has contacted anyone who should receive prophylactic antibiotic due to increased risk from direct contact. The Health Department is very involved and we recommend following their recommendation.

The incubation period of meningitidis is three to four days, with a range of two to 10 days. People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close (for example, coughing or kissing) or lengthy contact to spread these bacteria. Fortunately, they are not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or the flu. The bacteria does not survive long outside the human body, and cannot be spread from touching contaminated surfaces.  Symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness, vomiting, lethargy.

The best advice is to get vaccinated. Children are routinely vaccinated against Neisseria Meningitidis at 11 and 16 years of age with New York State requiring vaccination for children entering 7th or 12th grade.  Sleep away camp is not considered an indication for early vaccination, but early vaccination is allowed.  Your pediatrician is a great source of vaccine information.

To understand more about the illness, please click on this link from the Center for Disease Control.


By: Dr. Eric Levene (Chester Pediatrics, Whiteplains, NY), Dr. Kerry Fierstein (Pediatrics Health Associates, Plainview, NY), Dr. Jennifer Shaer (Peconic Pediatrics, Riverhead & Southold, NY)


  1. Thank you for sharing this information. Can you explain why 11 is the age children are typically first vaccinated?

  2. the title says “signs and symptoms” ….what are the signs/symptoms of this disease?