Most Meningococcal Disease Cases Confirmed Since 2014

Houston reported seven recent meningococcal disease cases
Texas meningococcal disease cases 2024
US CDC meningococcal disease trends
Houston (Precision Vaccinations News)

Meningitis continues to be a major public health concern worldwide, with epidemics being reported in 2024.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported a significant increase in meningococcal disease cases, which causes severe inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Based on preliminary data, as of March 8, 2024, there were 415 confirmed and probable cases of meningococcal disease in 2023 alone.

This is the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 2014.

Public health officials track all meningococcal disease cases in each state.

For example, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recently reported a statewide uptick in meningococcal disease in Texas. Of the 27 people infected since November 2023, 10 developed meningitis, and one unvaccinated person died.

In Houston, between November and February 2024, four adults and three children were infected with meningococcal disease. 

This significant rise in cases is primarily driven by the N. meningitidis serogroup Y.

The bacterium N. meningitidis causes invasive meningococcal disease and spreads from person to person through respiratory or throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close and lengthy contact, such as kissing, sharing utensils, or staying in the same household, for spread to occur, says DSHS.

The bacteria can reside in the upper respiratory tract of asymptomatic individuals, who unknowingly can spread the disease. However, the bacteria are not distributed by simply breathing the air where a person with meningococcal disease has been.

Because of the risks of severe morbidity and death, effective antibiotics should be administered promptly to patients suspected of having meningococcal disease. 

Meningococcal disease is vaccine-preventable, and several approved vaccines are available in the U.S. These vaccines are offered at most pharmacies.

In Texas, one dose of the MenACWY vaccine is required for students enrolling in 7th–12th grades.

Find more information on meningococcal meningitis at

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee