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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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