Distribution by Age & Sex
Children from 3 months to 5 years of age and adolescents (15-18) are most susceptible to meningococcal disease, although peaks of incidence may also occur in older age groups. The peak during puberty is mainly caused by the life-style of teenagers (active or passive smoking, visit to crowded entertainment places, sharing drinking glasses and intensive kissing).
Among adults, especially at risk are alcoholics and persons with chronic conditions, such as otitis, sinusitis, mastoiditis, closed head injury with cerebrospinal fluid leaks, recurrent meningitis, pneumococcal pneumonia, sickle cell disease, or asplenia.
Meningococcal infection affects both sexes, but males have a higher incidence. It may also be considered a military disease, as its incidence among non-vaccinated recruits is at least 4-10 times higher than in the general population.