CDC warns of nationwide surge in bacterial infection leading to meningitis

According to the CDC, a rare bacterial infection that could lead to meningitis or cause death is on the rise.

"This is about meningococcus, and meningococcus is a very dangerous disease," said Dr. Matthew Sims, the director of infectious disease research at Corewell Health.

Doctors make it clear meningococcus is not new, and this is not a new outbreak – but some things are different as numbers continue to rise.

"The concern is based on the year to date numbers, it looks like we're going to be topping last year's numbers and there's a strain that seems to be sort of targeting younger people. It seems to be more in the African American population. So it's hard to really know. You know, why it's, it may be a little different. And, and why it's on the rise."

Symptoms vary, but fever and vomiting are common. Doctors say your best protection is getting a vaccine.

"You have a four strain vaccine, and you have a one strain vaccine, and you have to get both of them. And it's recommended for kids before they go off to college, it's recommended for older people," Sims said.

However, if you do get sick by this bacteria, doctors say treatment is available.

"The sooner you jump on these things, the less likely you are to have significant problems down the line," Sims said. Those who catch meningococcus "can end up with neurological deficits after they have it. That can be permanent, and so you want to treat it aggressively and quickly."