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Meningococcal Meningitis Digital Dashboard


This is a focus on a digital dashboard for surveillance of meningococcal meningitis for simple timely feedback to overcome challenges associated with surveillance (Cheng et al., 2011) and public health (Gebbie & Turnock, 2006).

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Description: Meningococcal Meningitis

  • A serious and possibly life-threatening infection disease
  • It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis and transmitted person-to-person through saliva or respiratory secretion
  • The disease progresses rapidly
  • It may strike even healthy individuals

Common Symptoms

  • High fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy and/or petechial or purpuric rash
  • A lack of immediate treatment could result into death (MacNeil, 2014).

Importance of Surveillance of Meningococcal Disease

  • Detect outbreaks (Lombardo & Buckeridge, 2007)
  • Evaluate changes in the epidemiology

Surveillance Systems

  • Meningococcal disease occurs across all states.
  • All conditions irrespective of the magnitude are reported to various state health agencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Disease Trends

  • Data from CDC shows that the rate of disease has declined in the US since 1990s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). In the year 2013, for instance, only 550 cases of the disease were noted in the US.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • The condition is seasonal, but significantly rises in between January and February every year.
  • Any person is susceptible to meningococcal disease
  • Children (less than one year old) have highest rate of getting meningococcal disease
  • Adolescents also have relatively high rate of contracting the disease
  • Adolescents and young adults between the age of 16 and 23 years old have relatively higher rates of getting the disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Different serogroups cause the disease at varied rates, and they differ by age group
  • Nearly 60 percent of notable causes in children less than five years results from serogroup B
  • Other serogroups, including C, Y, or W are responsible for every two cases in three cases among people aged 11 years old and over.



  • There are notable changes in the last 100 years in the US
  • There are no longer cases of large outbreaks from serogroup A notable in the first half of the 20 century (had attack rate of 310 in 100,000 people and death rate of 70 percent)
  • While serogroup A has almost disappeared, serogroup Y has become extremely prominent with an increased attack rate range from 2% during 1989-1991 to 37% during 1997-2002 (MacNeil, 2014)

Risk factors for Meningococcal Meningitis

  • Organism
  • Host
  • Environment
  • Regular complement elements factors or functional or anatomic asplenia are responsible for the disease in some individuals
  • Poor living conditions e.g., overcrowding may enhance the spread of the disease through respiratory droplets
  • Smokers (active or passive) may be prone to the condition because of potential respiratory tract infection
  • Racially, blacks and other individuals of poor socioeconomic status are at relatively higher risks for the disease
  • Living with case patients
  • International travelers may be exposed to the disease (Wilder-Smith, 2008)


  • The use of antibiotics such as penicillins, ciprofloxacin, rifampin, or ceftriaxone (Raghunathan, Bernhardt, & Rosenstein, 2004)
  • Antibiotics must be administered promptly
  • Use multiple antibiotics


  • Vaccination for meningococcal disease is available based on recommendations (MCV4 or MPSV4)
  • Routine vaccination is recommended for individuals at high risk
  • A single dose of MCV4 might not be sufficient
Meningococcal disease incidence in the US population
(A) Meningococcal disease incidence in the US population compared with members of the US Army in 100 years and (B) after the introduction of the vaccine (Broderick, Faix, Hansen, & Blair, 2012)


Broderick, M. P., Faix, D. J., Hansen, C. J., & Blair, P. J. (2012). Trends in Meningococcal Disease in the United States Military, 1971–2010. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 18(9), 1430–1437.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Meningococcal Disease: Surveillance. Web.

Cheng, C. K., Ip, D. K., Cowling, B. J., Ho, L. M., Leung, G. M., & Lau, E. H. (2011). Digital Dashboard Design Using Multiple Data Streams for Disease Surveillance With Influenza Surveillance as an Example. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(4), e85.

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Gebbie, K. M., & Turnock, B. J. (2006). The Public Health Workforce, 2006: New Challenges. Health Affairs, 25(4), 923-933.

Lombardo, J. S., & Buckeridge, D. L. (2007). Disease Surveillance: A Public Health Informatics Approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience.

MacNeil, J. (2014). Meningococcal Disease: Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Web.

Raghunathan, P. L., Bernhardt, S. A., & Rosenstein, N. E. (2004). Opportunities for control of meningococcal disease in the United States. Annual Review of Medicine, 55, 333-53.

Wilder-Smith, A. (2008). Meningococcal disease: risk for international travellers and vaccine strategies. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 6(4), 182-6.

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