Meningococcal Disease: Shifting Epidemiology and Genetic Mechanisms That May Contribute to Serogroup C Virulence

Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road Northeast, MS C-09, Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA, .
Current Infectious Disease Reports 05/2011; 13(4):374-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11908-011-0195-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT During the past decade, monovalent serogroup C and quadrivalent (serogroups A, C, W135, Y) meningococcal vaccination programs have been introduced in multiple industrialized countries. Many of these programs have been successful in reducing the burden of disease due to vaccine-preventable serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis in target age groups. As a result, disease burden in these countries has decreased and is primarily serogroup B, which is not vaccine preventable. Despite the success of these programs, meningococcal disease continues to occur and there is always concern that serogroup C organisms will adapt their virulence mechanisms to escape pressure from vaccination. This review highlights the current epidemiology of meningococcal disease in Europe and United States, as well as genetic mechanisms that may affect virulence of serogroup C strains and effectiveness of new vaccines.

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    • "From 1998 to 2007, serogroup C (MenC) disease resulted in the highest case fatality ratio (14.6) among the three serogroups [1]. MenC often results in more severe sequelae in its survivors and has a predilection to cause outbreaks [2] [3] [4]. Sequence type (ST) 11/electrophoretic type (ET) 37 clonal complex was responsible for outbreaks in U.S. army military recruits in the 1960s and continues to cause outbreaks in the U.S. today [1] [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) disease accounts for one-third of all meningococcal cases and causes meningococcal outbreaks in the U.S. Quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine conjugated to diphtheria toxoid (MenACYWD) was recommended in 2005 for adolescents and high risk groups such as military recruits. We evaluated anti-MenC antibody persistence in U.S. military personnel vaccinated with either MenACYWD or meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4). Twelve hundred subjects vaccinated with MenACYWD from 2006 to 2008 or MPSV4 from 2002 to 2004 were randomly selected from the Defense Medical Surveillance System. Baseline serologic responses to MenC were assessed in all subjects; 100 subjects per vaccine group were tested during one of the following six post-vaccination time-points: 5-7, 11-13, 17-19, 23-25, 29-31, or 35-37 months. Anti-MenC geometric mean titers (GMT) were measured by rabbit complement serum bactericidal assay (rSBA) and geometric mean concentrations (GMC) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Continuous variables were compared using the Wilcoxon rank sum test and the proportion of subjects with an rSBA titer ≥8 by chi-square. Pre-vaccination rSBA GMT was <8 for the MenACWYD group. rSBA GMT increased to 703 at 5-7 months post-vaccination and decreased by 94% to 43 at 3 years post-vaccination. GMT was significantly lower in the MenACWYD group at 5-7 months post-vaccination compared to the MPSV4 group. The percentage of MenACWYD recipients achieving an rSBA titer of ≥8 decreased from 87% at 5-7 months to 54% at 3 years. There were no significant differences between vaccine groups in the proportion of subjects with a titer of ≥8 at any time-point. GMC for the MenACWYD group was 0.14μg/mL at baseline, 1.07μg/mL at 5-7 months, and 0.66μg/mL at 3 years, and significantly lower than the MPSV4 group at all time-points. Anti-MenC responses wane following vaccination with MenACYWD; a booster dose is needed to maintain protective levels of circulating antibody.
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