Journal Article

<i>Neisseria meningitidis</i> Carriage during an Outbreak of Serogroup C Disease

David M. Patrick, Sylvie Champagne, Swee-Han Goh, Gillian Arsenault, Eva Thomas, Carol Shaw, Tazim Rahim, Fatma Taha, Mark Bigham, Valerie Dubenko, Danuta Skowronski and Robert C. Brunham

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 37, issue 9, pages 1183-1188
Published in print November 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online November 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/378743
Neisseria meningitidis Carriage during an Outbreak of Serogroup C Disease

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During 2001, an outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal disease led to immunization of individuals aged 13–29 years in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. This study addresses the distribution of Neisseria meningitidis carriage in this population and the implications of that distribution for the targeting of the immunization campaign. Pharyngeal swabs were obtained at immunization from 2004 people. Colonies were identified and serogrouped using standard agglutination methods and by PCR. Isolates were characterized using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The prevalence of N. meningitidis carriage was 153 carriers per 2004 subjects (7.6%; 95% confidence interval, 6.5%–-8.9%). Only 6 (4%) of the isolates from these carriers were found to be serogroup C by agglutination or PCR testing, and all of these were from individuals within the age group targeted for immunization. Only 1 of these 6 isolates was found to be identical to the outbreak strain by PFGE. The observation that a virulent strain is not circulating widely suggests the possibility of low background immunity in the population at risk and emphasizes the importance of vaccination in controlling epidemic group C meningococcal disease.

Journal Article.  2673 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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