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Meningococcal Disease (Neisseria meningitidis)
1997 Case Definition

Clinical Description

Meningococcal disease manifests most commonly as meningitis and/or meningococcemia that may progress rapidly to purpura fulminans, shock, and death. However, other manifestations might be observed.

Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis

Isolation of Neisseria meningitidis from a normally sterile site (e.g., blood or cerebrospinal fluid [CSF] or, less commonly, joint, pleural, or pericardial fluid)

Case Classification


A case with a positive antigen test in CSF or clinical purpura fulminans in the absence of a positive blood culture


A clinically compatible case that is laboratory confirmed


Positive antigen test results from urine or serum samples are unreliable for diagnosing meningococcal disease.