Meningococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Meningococcal bacteria can infect the blood, spinal cord, and brain. These conditions can be fatal. Meningococcal disease can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle, or other surface. The bacteria can also be passed through kissing, or sharing a drinking glass or eating utensil with an infected person. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by meningococcal bacteria. The vaccine contains four of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is for use in children and adults between the ages of 9 months and 55 years old. Like any vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person. Becoming infected with meningitis (infection of the spinal cord and lining of the brain) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Menactra is a vaccine used to prevent infection by meningococcal bacteria. It contains a small amount of the virus, which allows the body's immune system to develop resistance to the infection without truly contracting it. If the body is exposed to the virus after the vaccine is given it will be able to successfully fight it off. However, Menactra will not be able to treat meningococcal disease that has already manifested in the body.