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No increase in meningococcal disease in Washington.

You may have heard about an increase across the nation in invasive serogroup Y meningococcal disease. It is a serious infection that requires medical attention. At first, symptoms feel like having the flu. But, when untreated, symptoms can quickly worsen.

We issued an advisory to healthcare providers informing them to keep an eye out for cases.

We haven’t seen an increase in meningococcal disease here in Washington. Washington had 4 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in 2023, and providers have reported 3 cases so far this year. These numbers are within the normal range, meaning the overall risk is still extremely low.

The nationwide increase in cases is disproportionately affecting people who are:

  • 30–60 years old.
  • Black or African American.
  • Living with HIV.

Hearing about the rise in cases across the United States, you may have questions about meningococcal disease. We have answers.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal bacteria cause meningococcal disease. These bacteria aren’t as contagious as most common germs, so it takes close or lengthy contact with an infected person to spread the disease. Symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Eyes are more sensitive to light.
  • Confusion.

What can I do?

People in the most affected groups may want to talk with their healthcare provider about any concerns. Healthcare providers should keep an eye out for signs in those most at risk.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends meningococcal vaccine for preteens, teens, and children and adults with health conditions or other risk factors.

Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more. Find out more about getting vaccines on our vaccines page.