Meningococcal carriage in the African meningitis belt

Trotter, CL; Greenwood, BM; (2007) Meningococcal carriage in the African meningitis belt. The Lancet infectious diseases, 7 (12). pp. 797-803. ISSN 1473-3099 DOI:

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In the African meningitis belt, epidemics of meningococcal disease occur periodically, although unpredictably, every few years. These epidemics continue to cause havoc but new efforts to control the disease, through the use of conjugate vaccines, are being made. Conjugate vaccines are likely to reduce meningococcal carriage, thus generating herd immunity, but to understand their potential impact we need to know more about the epidemiology of meningococcal carriage in Africa. We review published studies of meningococcal carriage in the African meningitis belt. A wide range of carriage prevalences has been reported, from 3% to over 30%, and the serogroup, distribution has been variable. Factors influencing carriage include age, contact with a case, and the epidemic/endemic situation; however, season and immunisation with polysaccharide vaccine have little effect. Since the dynamics of carriage within a population are complex, longitudinal carriage studies are of great value; however, few such studies have been done. Carefully designed carriage studies are needed to measure and interpret the impact of meningococcal group A conjugate vaccines in Africa.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Africa, epidemiology, Carrier State, Humans, Meningitis, Meningococcal, epidemiology, prevention & control, transmission, Meningococcal Vaccines, Treatment Outcome
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Vaccine Centre
PubMed ID: 18045562
Web of Science ID: 251312900020


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