What is the role of Neisseria meningitidis (N meningitides) in the development of meningococcal meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print

N meningitidis is a gram-negative diplococcus that is carried in the nasopharynx of otherwise healthy individuals. It initiates invasion by penetrating the airway epithelial surface. The precise mechanism by which this occurs is unclear, but recent viral or mycoplasmal infection has been reported to disrupt the epithelial surface and facilitate invasion by meningococcus.

Most sporadic cases of meningococcal meningitis (95-97%) are caused by serogroups B, C, and Y, whereas the A and C strains are observed in epidemics (< 3% of cases). Currently, N meningitidis is one of the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults, but the incidence has decreased with use of the conjugate meningococcal vaccine. [6]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!