What are risk factors for developing meningococcal meningitis?

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

Risk factors for meningococcal meningitis include the following:

  • Deficiencies in terminal complement components (eg, membrane attack complex, C5-C9), which increases attack rates but is associated with surprisingly lower mortality rates

  • Properdin defects that increase the risk of invasive disease

  • Antecedent viral infection, chronic medical illness, corticosteroid use, and active or passive smoking

  • Crowded living conditions, as is observed in college dormitories (college freshmen living in dormitories are at highest risk) and military facilities, which has been reported in clustering of cases


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