This review examines the role of cytokines and chemokines in the pathogenesis of meningococcal disease (MCD) and draws comparisons with studies of other forms of sepsis in adults and in animal models. There are many similarities but also discrepancies between these data. MCD is a well-defined clinical syndrome with identifiable onset and time of presentation. It is a reliable model in which to study cytokine and chemokine responses in bacterial sepsis. Such studies may lead to new adjunctive treatments, which can be tested to ameliorate severe MCD.