Meningococcal infections are caused by the meningococcal bacteria which is spread through saliva and the respiratory tract. The bacteria can cause meningococcal meningitis, referred to as meningitis, when it infects the lining of the spinal cord or brain. Beginning symptoms are flu-like and can include a stiff neck, nausea, and skin rash. The bacteria can also cause bloodstream infections called sepsis, which has the following symptoms: high fever, heart rate, and respiratory rate. Meningococcal infections are more common in babies, teens, and young adults, particularly young college students living in dormatories. In order to prevent a meningococcal infection, keep up to date on your vaccinations and avoid contact with sick people. Antibiotics may be given as treatment for the infection.