Serogroup A meningococci were isolated from patients and healthy carriers in The Gambia between 1982 and 1988. The class 5 proteins expressed by these bacteria were identified by electrophoretic migration and by serologic tests. Three protein serologic groupings (seroclasses) called A (protein 5a), B (proteins 5b, 5d, or 5e), and C (protein 5c or 5C) were found among 331 bacterial isolates. The number of class 5 proteins expressed per isolate varied from none to four, with a median of two. The class 5 protein composition differed for certain paired isolates obtained from the nasopharynx, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid of diseased patients and for certain pairs of sequential isolates from the nasopharynx of healthy carriers; the medical relevance of this variation remains unclear, although the 5C protein was preferentially isolated from the nasopharynx and the 5a protein from diseased patients. The data show that a large proportion of healthy carriers in The Gambia were exposed to bacteria expressing each of the three seroclasses and that many people were exposed to bacteria expressing each of the three seroclasses and that many people were exposed to two or all three seroclasses during the epidemic of 1982-1983.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 09/1991; 164(2):375-82. DOI:10.1093/infdis/164.2.375 · 5.78 Impact Factor