Health officials from Ventura County report and warn about a fast-acting bacterial infection similar to meningitis that had killed a baby and a teenager around Christmas time.
Meningococcemia, a type of blood poisoning, is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitides that lives in many people’s noses and throats but does not cause outbreaks. It is actually still not known what triggers the outbreaks. The disease is spread via saliva or respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes.

If not treated, the bacterium could lead to meningitis, or the inflammation of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Both of the diseases are highly dangerous and before patients are diagnosed, the bacterium is far too gone.

A vaccine has been released this year and it protects against four of the five types of Neisseria meningitides. Immunization is recommended for children 2 and younger, preteens and students living in college dorms.