LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

More than half our area's teens are not protected from a deadly disease.

Meningococcal is a rare but fatal bacterial disease that causes meningitis and blood infections. It mainly poses a threat to teens.

Unlike other recommended vaccinations, the Meningococcal vaccine is not required by schools. It is spread through the sharing of saliva and can develop and become fatal in just hours.

Even if caught early, antibiotics won't always be a guaranteed remedy.

"It's a bacteria so it's treatable with antibiotics however when someone gets the disease the symptoms progress so quickly, often times the antibiotics can't work fast enough to save the person," said Christine Gillespie, a registered nurse with the La Crosse County Health Department.

Symptoms include headaches and nausea followed by bruising of the body.

One in five teens that survive the deadly disease can expect serious medical problems including the loss of limbs and brain damage.