Meningococcemia is a life-threatening infection that occurs when the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis invades the blood stream. Bleeding into the skin (petechiae and purpura) usually occurs and the tissue may die (become necrotic or gangrenous). If the patient survives, the areas heal with scarring.
Review Date 9/1/2021
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.