Although N. meningitidis is a very severe pathogen, it is not as contagious as viruses that cause the common cold or the flu. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.
N. meningitidis spreads from person to person either by:
Symptoms of invasive meningococcal disease can be different depending on the type of infection the bacteria have caused. The most common symptoms are high fever, chills, drowsiness, and a rash.
Complications of meningococcal invasive disease can result in permanent hearing loss, brain damage, loss of limbs, and death.
School Exclusion Policy
Children with meningococcal infections (meningitis or bloodstream infections caused by N. meningitidis) should be kept out of school or childcare until they have been treated appropriately with antibiotics, have written permission from a healthcare provider, and are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-suppressing medications. Rules for exclusion of sick children from school and childcare are outlined in the Texas Administrative Code, specifically Rule 97.7 for schools and Rule 746.3603 for childcare.
Please CLICK HERE for information from the Texas Department of State Health Services on N. meningitidis.