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1.  The changing epidemiology of meningococcal disease in North America 1945–2010 
The epidemiology of Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) is distinct in the United States and Canada compared with other countries. This review describes the incidence, mortality and vaccination strategies relevant to IMD in these countries over the past 65 y. The incidence of IMD has remained consistently low in both countries during this period. Serogroup B and serogroup C have been the most prominent disease-causing serogroups. Notably, serogroup Y has recently become an important cause of IMD in the USA, but has not been as prominent in Canada. Periodic rises in incidence have been characterized by local outbreaks that have raised public concern, especially those caused by serogroup C in Canada, and serogroup B in the USA. Case fatality rates have remained consistent at around 10–20%, but vary by age and serogroup. Recent outbreaks have led to the introduction of vaccination programs for both outbreak control and routine immunization.
PMCID: PMC3667932  PMID: 23108355
Neisseria meningitidis; meningococcal disease; epidemiology; North America; Literature review
2.  The Changing Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease in Quebec, Canada, 1991–2011: Potential Implications of Emergence of New Strains 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50659.
In order to inform meningococcal disease prevention strategies, we analysed the epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in the province of Quebec, Canada, 10 years before and 10 years after the introduction of serogroup C conjugate vaccination.
IMD cases reported to the provincial notifiable disease registry in 1991–2011 and isolates submitted for laboratory surveillance in 1997–2011 were analysed. Serogrouping, PCR testing and assignment of isolates to sequence types (ST) by using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed.
Yearly overall IMD incidence rates ranged from 2.2–2.3/100,000 in 1991–1992 to 0.49/100,000 in 1999–2000, increasing to 1.04/100,000 in 2011. Among the 945 IMD cases identified by laboratory surveillance in 1997–2011, 68%, 20%, 8%, and 3% were due to serogroups B, C, Y, and W135, respectively. Serogroup C IMD almost disappeared following the implementation of universal childhood immunization with monovalent C conjugate vaccines in 2002. Serogroup B has been responsible for 88% of all IMD cases and 61% of all IMD deaths over the last 3 years. The number and proportion of ST-269 clonal complex has been steadily increasing among the identified clonal complexes of serogroup B IMD since its first identification in 2003, representing 65% of serogroup B IMD in 2011. This clonal complex was first introduced in adolescent and young adults, then spread to other age groups.
Important changes in the epidemiology of IMD have been observed in Quebec during the last two decades. Serogroup C has been virtually eliminated. In recent years, most cases have been caused by the serogroup B ST-269 clonal complex. Although overall burden of IMD is low, the use of a vaccine with potential broad-spectrum coverage could further reduce the burden of disease. Acceptability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness studies coupled with ongoing clinical and molecular surveillance are necessary in guiding public policy decisions.
PMCID: PMC3510192  PMID: 23209803
3.  Epidemiology of Invasive Meningococcal Disease with Decreased Susceptibility to Penicillin in Ontario, Canada, 2000 to 2006▿  
Neisseria meningitidis has been relatively slow to acquire resistance to penicillin. We previously reported an increase in the incidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) strains with decreased susceptibility to penicillin (DSP) in Ontario. Our objectives were to evaluate trends in IMD with DSP, to identify case-level predictors of IMD with DSP, and to evaluate the relationship among DSP, bacterial phenotype, and the likelihood of a fatal outcome. All IMD isolates received in Ontario between 2000 and 2006 were submitted to the Public Health Laboratories, Toronto, for confirmation of the species, serogroup determination, and susceptibility testing. Isolates were considered to be IMD strains with DSP if the penicillin MIC was ≥0.125 μg/ml. Temporal trends were evaluated using multivariable Poisson regression models. Correlates of diminished susceptibility and fatal outcome were evaluated with multivariable logistic regression models. The overall rate of IMD caused by strains with DSP in Ontario was approximately 1.20 cases per million population annually (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.99 to 1.46). Seventy-nine strains (21.7%) were IMD strains with DSP. There was no year-to-year trend in the incidence of IMD with DSP. IMD with DSP was strongly associated with strains of serogroups Y (odds ratio [OR], 6.3; 95% CI, 3.6 to 11.1) and W-135 (OR, 8.2; 95% CI, 4.0 to 16.7). Infection with serogroup B or C strains was associated with a marked increase in the risk of mortality (OR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.39 to 6.75); however, no association between IMD with DSP and mortality was observed. In contrast to trends of the 1990s, the incidence of IMD with DSP was stable in Ontario between 2000 and 2006. In Ontario, the serogroup rather than the penicillin MIC is the microbiological parameter most predictive of mortality.
PMCID: PMC2826021  PMID: 20086160
4.  Respiratory Virus Infection and Risk of Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Central Ontario, Canada 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15493.
In temperate climates, invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) incidence tends to coincide with or closely follow peak incidence of influenza virus infection; at a seasonal level, increased influenza activity frequently correlates with increased seasonal risk of IMD.
We evaluated 240 cases of IMD reported in central Ontario, Canada, from 2000 to 2006. Associations between environmental and virological (influenza A, influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)) exposures and IMD incidence were evaluated using negative binomial regression models controlling for seasonal oscillation. Acute effects of weekly respiratory virus activity on IMD risk were evaluated using a matched-period case-crossover design with random directionality of control selection. Effects were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Multivariable negative binomial regression identified elevated IMD risk with increasing influenza A activity (per 100 case increase, incidence rate ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.31). In case-crossover models, increasing weekly influenza A activity was associated with an acute increase in the risk of IMD (per 100 case increase, odds ratio (OR)  = 2.03, 95% CI: 1.28 to 3.23). Increasing weekly RSV activity was associated with increased risk of IMD after adjusting for RSV activity in the previous 3 weeks (per 100 case increase, OR = 4.31, 95% CI: 1.14, 16.32). No change in disease risk was seen with increasing influenza B activity.
We have identified an acute effect of influenza A and RSV activity on IMD risk. If confirmed, these finding suggest that influenza vaccination may have the indirect benefit of reducing IMD risk.
PMCID: PMC2984510  PMID: 21103353
5.  The elusive meningococcal meningitis serogroup: a systematic review of serogroup B epidemiology 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:175.
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), is a widely distributed, complex human disease affecting all age categories. The causative agent, Neisseria meningitidis, is spread through aerosol respiratory droplets. 13 different serogroups have been identified, each with varying epidemiological features including prevalence, virulence, immunogenicity, geographical and temporal distribution. Although preventative measures are available for several of the serogroups, meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B is of particular interest due to the challenge it presents concerning vaccine development.
A systematic review of peer reviewed studies and reports, the collection of data from national and international health resources, along with the analysis of the Multi Locus Sequence Typing database was carried out aimed at collecting information concerning serogroup B IMD and the epidemiology attached to it.
A continuous output of related and novel STs occurring worldwide in terms of the hypervirulent clonal complexes was observed both in published studies and the MLST database in this case using the eburst software, which highlights the genetically diverse nature of serogroup B strains.
With the recent dominance of serogroup B IMD seen in many countries, along with the presence of antibiotic resistance, vaccine development needs to target areas of the bacterium which tackle this widespread and heterogeneous aspect of meningococcal meningitis disease.
PMCID: PMC2894839  PMID: 20565757
6.  Serogroup C meningococci in Italy in the era of conjugate menC vaccination 
To assess changes in the pattern of Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) in Italy after the introduction of conjugate menC vaccine in the National Vaccine Plan 2005–2007 and to provide information for developing timely and appropriate public health interventions, analyses of microbiological features of isolates and clinical characteristics of patients have been carried out. In Italy, the number of serogroup C meningococci fell progressively following the introduction of the MenC conjugate vaccine, recommended by the Italian Ministry of Health but implemented according to different regional strategies.
IMD cases from January 2005 through July 2008 reported to the National Meningococcal Surveillance System were considered for this study. Serogrouping and sero/subtyping were performed on 179 serogroup C strains received at the National Reference Laboratory of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Antibiotic susceptibility testing was possible for 157 isolates. MLST (Multilocus sequence typing), porA VRs (Variable Region) typing, PFGE (Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis), VNTR (Variable Number Tandem Repeats) analyses were performed on all C:2a and C:2b meningococci (n = 147), following standard procedures.
In 2005 and 2008, IMD showed an incidence of 0.5 and 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively. While the incidence due to serogroup B remained stable, IMD incidence due to serogroup C has decreased since 2006. In particular, the decrease was significant among infants. C:2a and C:2b were the main serotypes, all C:2a strains belonged to ST-11 clonal complex and all C:2b to ST-8/A4. Clinical manifestations and outcome of infections underlined more severe disease caused by C:2a isolates. Two clusters due to C:2a/ST-11 meningococci were reported in the North of Italy in December 2007 and July 2008, respectively, with a high rate of septicaemia and fatal outcome.
Public health surveillance of serogroup C invasive meningococcal disease and microbiological/molecular characterization of the isolates requires particular attention, since the hyper-invasive ST-11 predominantly affected adolescents and young adults for whom meningococcal vaccination was not recommended in the 2005–2007 National Vaccine Plan.
PMCID: PMC2739211  PMID: 19698137
7.  Invasive Serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis in Québec, Canada, 2003 to 2010: Persistence of the ST-269 Clone Since It First Emerged in 2003 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(5):1545-1551.
In the era after the introduction of the meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine, from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010, serogroup B meningococci were the major cause of invasive meningococcal disease in the province of Québec, Canada, being responsible for 72% of all meningococcal disease cases. Of the 334 invasive serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis strains analyzed, 53.9% belonged to the ST-269 clonal complex (CC). Since it first emerged in 2003, the percentage of invasive serogroup B isolates that belonged to the ST-269 CC had increased from 35% in 2003 to 76% in 2010. Among the 180 meningococci in the ST-269 CC, 91.7% belonged to a single ST (ST-269). The most common PorA genotypes identified in the ST-269 CC were (i) VR1 19-1, VR2 15-11, VR3 36 (84%) and (ii) VR1 18-7, VR2 9, VR3 35-1 (9%). Cases of invasive disease due to the ST-269 CC were commonly found in those aged 11 to 19 years (30.5%) and 20 to 40 years (25.5%). Meningococci of the ST-269 CC were uncommon in other Canadian provinces. In contrast to the ST-269 CC, invasive serogroup B meningococci that belonged to the ST-41/44 CC were much more diverse genetically. However, one ST (ST-571), which is uncommon in the United States, accounted for 35% of all cases due to this CC. The current finding suggests that the ST-269 clone may indeed represent an emerging hypervirulent clone of meningococci.
PMCID: PMC3347115  PMID: 22337990
8.  Usefulness of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis in tracking two outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease serogroup C in British Columbia 
Two major outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease serogroup C (IMD-C) were identified in British Columbia between 2000 and 2004. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and porA gene sequencing of all retained IMD-C isolates were used to assess correlations between genotypes and epidemiological patterns. PFGE patterns of IMD-C genotypes correlated with epidemiological patterns between 2000 and 2004 in British Columbia, and demonstrated that PFGE can identify outbreak-related cases. Both IMD-C outbreaks correlated with a respective PFGE pattern. PFGE analysis demonstrated that the 2004 British Columbia outbreak strain in men who have sex with men was closely related to the 2001 Abbotsford outbreak strain. PorA sequencing data indicated low diversity of class 1 outer membrane proteins in British Columbia, and did not correlate with epidemiological trends. There was a trend for outbreak-associated PFGE types to demonstrate higher case fatality rates.
PMCID: PMC2533566  PMID: 18978987
Epidemiology; Gel electrophoresis; Molecular; Neisseria meningitidis; PorA protein; Pulsed-field; Serogroup C
9.  A Decade of Invasive Meningococcal Disease Surveillance in Poland 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71943.
Neisseria meningitidis is a leading etiologic agent of severe invasive disease. The objective of the study was to characterise invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) epidemiology in Poland during the last decade, based on laboratory confirmed cases.
The study encompassed all invasive meningococci collected between 2002 and 2011 in the National Reference Centre for Bacterial Meningitis. The isolates were re-identified and characterised by susceptibility testing, MLST analysis, porA and fetA sequencing. A PCR technique was used for meningococcal identification directly from clinical materials.
In the period studied, 1936 cases of IMD were confirmed, including 75.6% identified by culture. Seven IMD outbreaks, affecting mostly adolescents, were reported; all were caused by serogroup C meningococci of ST-11. The highest incidence was observed among children under one year of age (15.71/100,000 in 2011). The general case fatality rate in the years 2010–2011 was 10.0%. Meningococci of serogroup B, C, Y and W-135 were responsible for 48.8%, 36.6%, 1.2% and 1.2% of cases, respectively. All isolates were susceptible to third generation cephalosporins, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, and 84.2% were susceptible to penicillin. MLST analysis (2009–2011) revealed that among serogroup B isolates the most represented were clonal complexes (CC) ST-32CC, ST-18CC, ST-41/44CC, ST-213CC and ST-269CC, and among serogroup C: ST-103CC, ST-41/44CC and ST-11CC.
The detection of IMD in Poland has changed over time, but observed increase in the incidence of the disease was mostly attributed to changes in the surveillance system including an expanded case definition and inclusion of data from non-culture diagnostics.
PMCID: PMC3748050  PMID: 23977184
10.  Population Snapshot of Invasive Serogroup B Meningococci in South Africa from 2005 to 2008 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(8):2577-2584.
In South Africa, serogroup B meningococcal disease is sporadic. The aim of this study was to characterize serogroup B strains causing invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in South Africa from 2005 to 2008. Isolates, collected through a national, laboratory-based surveillance program for IMD, were characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Two thousand two hundred thirty-four cases were reported, of which 1,447 had viable isolates. Intermediate resistance to penicillin was observed in 2.8% (41/1,447) of all strains. Serogroup B was the second most common serogroup (17%, 251/1,447) and increased from 14% (58/414) in 2005 to 25% (72/290) in 2008 (P < 0.001); however, incidence remained stable during the study period (average incidence, 0.13/100,000 population) (P = 0.54). Serogroup B was predominantly characterized by three clonal complexes, namely, ST-41/44/lineage 3, ST-32/ET-5, and the new complex ST-4240/6688, which accounted for 27% (65/242), 23% (55/242), and 16% (38/242) of isolates, respectively. ST-4240/6688 was more prevalent among young children (<5 years) than other clonal complexes (27/37 [73%] versus 108/196 [55%]; P = 0.04). In the most densely populated province of South Africa, Gauteng, the prevalence of ST-32/ET-5 increased from 8% (2/24) in 2005 to 38% (9/24) in 2008 (P = 0.04). Capsular switching was observed in 8/242 (3%) strains. The newly assigned clonal complex ST-4240/6688 was more common in young children.
PMCID: PMC3421525  PMID: 22593593
11.  Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup W, Burkina Faso, 2012 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(3):394-399.
In 2010, Burkina Faso became the first country to introduce meningococcal serogroup A conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT). During 2012, Burkina Faso reported increases in Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W, raising questions about whether these cases were a natural increase in disease or resulted from serogroup replacement after PsA-TT introduction. We analyzed national surveillance data to describe the epidemiology of serogroup W and genotyped 61 serogroup W isolates. In 2012, a total of 5,807 meningitis cases were reported through enhanced surveillance, of which 2,353 (41%) were laboratory confirmed. The predominant organism identified was N. meningitidis serogroup W (62%), and all serogroup W isolates characterized belonged to clonal complex 11. Although additional years of data are needed before we can understand the epidemiology of serogroup W after PsA–TT introduction, these data suggest that serogroup W will remain a major cause of sporadic disease and has epidemic potential, underscoring the need to maintain high-quality case-based meningitis surveillance after PsA–TT introduction.
PMCID: PMC3944835  PMID: 24565645
meningococcal meningitis; serogroup W meningococcal meningitis; Burkina Faso; serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine; bacteria; children
12.  Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Québec, Canada, Due to an Emerging Clone of ST-269 Serogroup B Meningococci with Serotype Antigen 17 and Serosubtype Antigen P1.19 (B:17:P1.19) 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(8):2743-2749.
During periods of endemic meningococcal disease, serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis is responsible for a significant percentage of invasive diseases, and no particular clone or strain predominates (F. E. Ashton and D. A. Caugant, Can. J. Microbiol. 47: 293-289, 2001), However, in the winter of 2004 to 2005, a cluster of serogroup B meningococcal disease occurred in one region in the province of Québec, Canada. The N. meningitidis strain responsible for this cluster of cases was identified as sequence type ST-269 with the antigenic formula B:17:P1.19. Retrospective analysis of isolates from 2000 onwards showed that this clone first emerged in the province of Québec in 2003. The emergence of this clone of serogroup B meningococci occurred after a mass vaccination against serogroup C N. meningitidis, suggesting possible capsule replacement.
PMCID: PMC1594649  PMID: 16891487
13.  The epidemiology of meningococcal disease in Latin America 1945–2010: an unpredictable and changing landscape 
Epidemiology and Infection  2012;141(3):447-458.
Meningococcal disease is mostly endemic in Latin America, with periodic occurrences of outbreaks and epidemics over the last few decades. This literature review summarizes the available epidemiological data for this region between 1945 and 2010. Incidence rates and serogroup distribution differ from country to country and over time. Serogroups A, B, and C have all been major causes of meningococcal disease since the 1970s. In the last decade serogroups W135 and Y may now be emerging in certain countries, with serogroup A virtually disappearing. Although progress has been made in improving and coordinating the surveillance of invasive disease, the uniformity and quality of reported data reflect the fact that the current surveillance systems focus on passive rather than active reporting, hence the reliability of data may vary between countries. Consideration of vaccination policies to control meningococcal disease can only be made with a sufficient understanding of the changing epidemiology in the region.
PMCID: PMC3566594  PMID: 22877581
Epidemiology; Latin America; meningococcal disease; Neisseria meningitidis; vaccination strategies
14.  Characterization of serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis from invasive meningococcal disease cases in Canada between 1979 and 2006: Epidemiological links to returning travellers 
Serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis has repeatedly caused epidemics of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in developing nations since the 1960s. The present study is the first detailed study of serogroup A bacteria isolated in Canada.
Thirty-four serogroup A meningococcal isolates collected from individuals with IMD in Canada between 1979 and 2006 were characterized by serology and multilocus sequence typing of seven housekeeping enzyme genes and genes encoding three outer membrane protein antigens.
Isolates were assigned to either the sequence type (ST)-1 or the ST-5 clonal complex. Clones within the ST-1 complex were recovered between 1979 and 1992, while clones of the ST-5 complex were isolated between 1987 and 2006; respectively, they accounted for 70.6% and 29.4% of all isolates studied. Isolates of the ST-1 complex were characterized by serosubtype antigen P1.3 or P1.3,6 with PorB allele 60 (serotype 4) and FetA sequence F5-1, while isolates of the ST-5 complex were characterized by serosubtype antigen P1.9 with PorB allele 47 (also serotype 4) and FetA sequence F3-1.
The Canadian serogroup A IMD isolates likely originated in travellers returning from hyperendemic or epidemic areas of the globe where serogroup A bacteria circulate. Although the Canadian cases of serogroup A IMD were caused by clones known to have caused epidemics in developing countries, disease incidence remained low in Canada.
PMCID: PMC2605869  PMID: 19412379
Canada; Invasive meningococcal disease; Neisseria meningitides; Serogroup A
15.  Meningococcal Disease in South Africa, 1999–2002 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(2):273-281.
Serogroups and strains differ by location, although hypervirulent strains were identified throughout the country.
We describe the epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease in South Africa from August 1999 through July 2002, as reported to a laboratory-based surveillance system. Neisseria meningitidis isolates were further characterized. In total, 854 cases of laboratory-confirmed disease were reported, with an annual incidence rate of 0.64/100,000 population. Incidence was highest in infants <1 year of age. Serogroup B caused 41% of cases; serogroup A, 23%; serogroup Y, 21%; serogroup C, 8%; and serogroup W135, 5%. Serogroup B was the predominant serogroup in Western Cape Province, and disease rates remained stable. Serogroup A was most prevalent in Gauteng Province and increased over the 3 years. On pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis, serogroup A strains showed clonality, and serogroup B demonstrated considerable diversity. Selected isolates of serogroup A belonged to sequence type (ST)-1 (subgroup I/II) complex, serogroup B to ST-32/electrophoretic type (ET)-5 complex, and serogroup W135 to ST-11/ET-37 complex.
PMCID: PMC2725855  PMID: 17479891
Neisseria meningitidis; serogroup; meningococcal disease; ST-complex; hypervirulent strains; MLST; PFGE; research
16.  Invasive meningococcal disease in elderly people, New South Wales, Australia, 1993 to 2012 
Little information is available publicly on invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in elderly people in Australia. This study analysed IMD notifications data from New South Wales between 1993 and 2012 to determine the distribution of IMD among people aged 65 years and older and to describe the characteristics of IMD in this age group compared to younger age groups with respect to notification trends, serogroup distribution and mortality rates. Following introduction of a childhood vaccination programme against meningococcal type C in 2003, notification rates in all age groups decreased, but the proportion of IMD notifications in people aged 65 years and over rose significantly (from 4% to 6%, P = 0.01). Mortality rates from IMD in those aged 65 years and older were significantly higher than overall rates (32% compared to 5%, P < 0.01). Serogroup Y accounted for 23% of infections in the elderly compared to 3% in people aged under 65 years (P < 0.01). As the population ages, the elderly may account for a higher number of IMD cases in Australia. Protocols at the state and national level should be updated to provide guidance on the clinical and public health management of elderly people with IMD.
PMCID: PMC3902734  PMID: 24478917
17.  Profile of serogroup Y meningococcal infections in Canada: Implications for vaccine selection 
Canada is a leader in establishing routine infant immunization programs against meningococcal C disease. Currently, all provinces have routine programs to provide meningococcal C conjugate vaccines to infants and children. The result of the existing programs has been a decrease in serogroup C incidence. The second most common vaccine-preventable serogroup in Canada is serogroup Y, the incidence of which has been stable. The availability of a quadrivalent conjugate vaccine against serogroups A, C, Y and W135 focuses attention on serogroup Y disease as it becomes relatively more prominent as a cause of vaccine-preventable invasive meningococcal disease. This vaccine was licensed in November 2006 but is not routinely used except in Nunavut, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. To allow a better understanding of the ‘value added’ by a serogroup Y-containing vaccine, it is necessary to have a contemporary profile of Y disease in Canada. In the present paper, recent surveillance data on invasive meningococcal disease across Canada are summarized.
PMCID: PMC2807258  PMID: 21119789
Invasive meningococcal disease; Meningococcal vaccine; Morbidity; Mortality; Neisseria meningitides; Serogroups A, C, Y, W135
18.  Emergence of serogroup C meningococcal disease associated with a high mortality rate in Hefei, China 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:205.
Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C has emerged as a cause of epidemic disease in Hefei. The establishment of serogroup C as the predominant cause of endemic disease has not been described.
We conducted national laboratory-based surveillance for invasive meningococcal disease during 2000–2010. Isolates were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing.
A total of 845 cases of invasive meningococcal disease were reported. The incidence increased from 1.25 cases per 100,000 population in 2000 to 3.14 cases per 100,000 in 2003 (p < 0.001), and peaked at 8.43 cases per 100,000 in 2005. The increase was mainly the result of an increase in the incidence of serogroup C disease. Serogroup C disease increased from 2/23 (9%) meningococcal cases and 0.11 cases per 100,000 in 2000 to 33/58 (57%) cases and 1.76 cases per 100,000 in 2003 (p < 0.01). Patients infected with serogroup C had serious complications more frequently than those infected with other serogroups. Specifically, 161/493 (32.7%) cases infected with serogroup C had at least one complication. The case-fatality rate of serogroup C meningitis was 11.4%, significantly higher than for serogroup A meningitis (5.3%, p = 0.021). Among patients with meningococcal disease, factors associated with death in univariate analysis were age of 15–24 years, infection with serogroup C, and meningococcemia.
The incidence of meningococcal disease has substantially increased and serogroup C has become endemic in Hefei. The serogroup C strain has caused more severe disease than the previously predominant serogroup A strain.
PMCID: PMC3459715  PMID: 22943188
Neisseria meningitidis; Serogroup C strain; Incidence
19.  Serogroup W-135 Meningococcal Disease during the Hajj, 2000 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):665-671.
An outbreak of serogroup W-135 meningococcal disease occurred during the 2000 Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Disease was reported worldwide in Hajj pilgrims and their close contacts; however, most cases were identified in Saudi Arabia. Trends in Saudi meningococcal disease were evaluated and the epidemiology of Saudi cases from this outbreak described. Saudi national meningococcal disease incidence data for 1990 to 2000 were reviewed; cases from January 24 to June 5, 2000 were retrospectively reviewed. The 2000 Hajj outbreak consisted of distinct serogroup A and serogroup W-135 outbreaks. Of 253 identified cases in Saudi Arabia, 161 (64%) had serogroup identification; serogroups W-135 and A caused 93 (37%) and 60 (24%) cases with attack rates of 9 and 6 cases per 100,000 population, respectively. The 2000 Hajj outbreak was the first large serogroup W-135 meningococcal disease outbreak identified worldwide. Enhanced surveillance for serogroup W-135, especially in Africa, is essential to control this emerging epidemic disease.
PMCID: PMC3000138  PMID: 12781005
Meningococcal infections; meningitis; meningococcal; Neisseria meningitides; epidemiology; disease outbreaks; Saudi Arabia; Africa; research
20.  Meningococcal disease in Asia: an under-recognized public health burden 
Epidemiology and Infection  2011;139(7):967-985.
A literature search traced existing information on meningococcal disease in Asia. Reviewed data describing the epidemiology of meningococcal disease in Asia are incomplete, due in part to absence of surveillance in many countries, poor bacterial detection methods and social and healthcare barriers to disease reporting. This suggests that meningococcal disease in some Asian countries may be under-recognized, with a need to introduce/improve existing surveillance and case identification systems. Nevertheless, in some developing Asian countries, the disease burden may be significant. Serogroup A meningococcal epidemics are responsible for high morbidity and mortality in some countries and continue to be an ongoing threat, particularly in developing countries. There is an increasing role played by serogroups C, Y, and W-135 in invasive disease, indicating evolving meningococcal disease epidemiology in some countries. Multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines offer new opportunities in the region for reducing the meningococcal disease burden.
PMCID: PMC3105449  PMID: 21492496
Asia; epidemic; epidemiology; meningococcal meningitis; meningococcal infection; morbidity; mortality; Neisseria meningitidis; vaccination
21.  Genetic and antigenic analysis of invasive serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis in Canada: A decrease in the electrophoretic type (ET)-15 clonal type and an increase in the proportion of isolates belonging to the ET-37 (but not ET-15) clonal type during the period from 2002 to 2009 
Serogroup C meningococcal disease has been endemic in Canada since the early 1990s, with periods of hyperendemic disease documented in the past two decades. The present study characterized invasive serogroup C meningococci in Canada during the period from 2002 to 2009.
Serogroup C meningococci were serotyped using monoclonal antibodies. Their clonal types were identified by either multilocus enzyme electrophoresis or multilocus sequence typing.
The number of invasive serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis isolates received at the National Microbiology Laboratory (Winnipeg, Manitoba) for characterization has dropped from a high of 173 isolates in 2001 to just 17 in 2009, possibly related to the introduction of the serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Before 2006, 80% to 95% of all invasive serogroup C meningococci belonged to the electrophoreic type (ET)-15 clonal type, and the ET-37 (but not ET-15) type only accounted for up to 5% of all isolates. However, beginning in 2006, the percentage of the ET-15 clonal type decreased while the ET-37 (but not ET-15) type increased from 27% in 2006 to 52% in 2009. The percentage of invasive serogroup C isolates not belonging to either ET-15 or ET-37 also increased. Most ET-15 isolates expressed the antigenic formula of C:2a:P1.7,1 or C:2a:P1.5. In contrast, the ET-37 (but not ET-15) isolates mostly expressed the antigens of C:2a:P1.5,2 or C:2a:P1.2.
A shift in the antigenic and clonal type of invasive serogroup C meningococi was noted. This finding suggests vigilance in the surveillance of meningoccocal disease is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3476562  PMID: 23997785
ET-15; ET-37; Meningococci; Serogroup C
22.  Comparative Long-term Adverse Effects Elicited by Invasive Group B and C Meningococcal Infections 
No vaccine is universally active against serogroup B meningococci. A theoretical concern that serogroup B capsular polysaccharide may induce autoimmunity hampers vaccine development. We studied long-term complications in 120 survivors of meningococcal disease. No evidence of increased autoimmune, neurological, or psychiatric disease was noted.
Background. Given the identity between Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MenB) capsular polysaccharide (polysialic acid; PSA) and PSA found on neural cell adhesion molecules, it has been proposed that infection with MenB or vaccination with PSA may be associated with subsequent autoimmune or neurological disease.
Methods. We conducted 2 studies. The first was a retrospective nationwide study of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Iceland (with 541 subjects) during the period 1975–2004, and we cross referenced this cohort with databases with respect to subsequent diagnosis of autoimmune disorders. A follow-up study involving 120 survivors of IMD was performed. The study included 70 patients with a history of MenB and 50 patients with N. meningitidis serogroup C (MenC) infection, who served as control subjects. Participants answered standardized questionnaires (Beck’s Depression Inventory [BDI] II, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales [DASS], and Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ]), and serum levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G against MenB and MenC capsular polysaccharides were measured.
Results. The nationwide cohort had 9166 patient-years of follow up. No evidence of increased autoimmunity was found to be associated with MenB, compared with MenC. In the follow-up study, patients were evaluated 16.6 years after the infection, representing 2022 patient-years of observation. Comparable rates of most complications were recorded, but MenC infections were associated with arthritis (P = .008) and migraine headaches (P = .01) more frequently than were MenB infections. No difference was observed with respect to scores on BDI-II, DASS, or PHQ. IgG anti-MenB and anti-MenC capsular polysaccharide levels were not related to patient complaints.
Conclusions. This study does not support the hypothesis that MenB infection may predispose to autoimmunity. MenC infections are associated with a higher prevalence of arthritis and migraine headaches. No evidence of antibody-associated pathology was detected at long-term follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3189164  PMID: 21946191
23.  Serological Specificities of Murine Hybridoma Monoclonal Antibodies against Neisseria meningitidis Serogroups B, C, Y, and W135 and Evaluation of Their Usefulness as Serogrouping Reagents by Indirect Whole-Cell Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay 
Murine hybridoma monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were produced against the capsular antigens of serogroups B, C, Y, and W135 meningococci. Each serogroup-specific MAb reacted with the extracted capsular polysaccharide from its homologous serogroup only and did not react with capsules from the other three serogroups. The application of these MAbs for serogroup identification of meningococci was demonstrated by their abilities to correctly identify 183 clinical isolates of 185 meningococci recovered from individual invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) patients during routine surveillance in 2002. The remaining two meningococci were identified by PCR grouping as C in one case and Y in another, but neither isolate was positive by bacterial agglutination using rabbit antisera or by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using MAbs. The specificities of the anti-Y and anti-W135 MAbs were further assessed by tests with 37 serogroup W135 and 106 serogroup Y meningococci recovered from IMD cases during 1999 to 2001 and 2003. All 143 meningococci except one serogroup Y isolate were correctly identified by positive reactions with the corresponding MAbs that identified their homologous serogroups. The single serogroup Y isolate was received as nonagglutinable and tested as negative with both rabbit anti-Y antiserum and anti-Y MAb but was positive for the serogroup Y-specific siaD gene. The advantage of using MAbs for serogrouping of meningococci is discussed.
PMCID: PMC540207  PMID: 15643000
24.  Should university students be vaccinated against meningococcal disease in Canada? 
To evaluate the benefit and costs of vaccination of university students against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Canada.
Published studies were reviewed and a simulation model was used.
IMD risk seems to be of low magnitude, but consequences can be dramatic. Over a 10-year period, IMD risk reduction would be slightly greater using a monovalent C conjugate vaccine than a quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine. From a societal perspective, costs per quality-adjusted life-years gained would be between $135,000 and $698,000, according to epidemiological scenarios and with vaccine purchase prices between $35 and $50 per dose.
Economic indices exceed proposed criteria for cost effective public health programs, but from the perspective of students and parents, the cost of vaccination might be worth the benefit.
PMCID: PMC2094918  PMID: 18159440
Cost benefit; Meningoccal disease; University; Vaccination
25.  The Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease in the United States 
Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis and other serious infections worldwide. The epidemiology of N. meningitidis is highly changeable, with major changes in disease incidence and serogroup distribution. Six serogroups are responsible for most meningococcal disease worldwide, namely serogroups, A, B, C, W-135, X, and Y; the epidemiology of disease caused by each serogroup is unique. No vaccine is available for endemic disease caused by serogroup B strains. Two tetravalent (A/C/Y/W-135) meningococcal vaccines are licensed in the United States, a purified polysaccharide product and a polysaccharide–protein conjugate vaccine. The conjugate vaccine is recommended for all adolescents, although vaccine coverage remains low, and other high risk groups. A comprehensive program to prevent invasive meningococcal disease in the US will require immunization of infants; several conjugate vaccines for infants may become available in the near future. Broadly protective vaccines for endemic serogroup B disease are also needed.
PMCID: PMC2820831  PMID: 20144015
Neisseria meningitidis; meningococcal; United States; vaccine

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