Invasive meningococcal disease: Patient and strain characteristics set new challenge for prevention and control

G. Paret, N. Keller, A. Barzilai, M. Zemach, D. Guttman, A. Vardi, G. Shatzberg, H. Cohen, Z. Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Differences in the course of invasive meningococcal disease, in prevalence, case-to-carrier ratio, geographical pattern, age distribution and antibiotic resistance have been related to major serogroups and their serotypes. The relationships between Neisseria meningitidis serogroups and clinical manifestation, outcome and patient characteristics are assessed. All hospitalized patients in six major hospitals in central Israel with a verified meningococcal disease during 1990-1994 were included (n = 66). Their personal and clinical data and the results of bacteriological and serological tests of their blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were recorded. Meningococci were isolated from both blood and CSF, from blood alone, and from CSF alone in 60.6%, 18.2%, and 21.2% of the cases, respectively. The highest proportion of isorations were from infants < 1 year (34.8%), followed by children aged 1 to 5 years (25.8%). Serogroup B prevailed in 62.1%, while groups C and W135 accounted for 28.8% and 9.1% respectively. Serogroup B predominated in children < 1 year, while in patients aged 5-22 years, C strains were the major pathogen (P < 0.001). Serogroup B accounted for 93% of the cases of meningitis, 58% of meningococcemia and 42% of fulminant meningococcemia, while group C strains were the major cause of fulminant meningococcemia (50%). The overall case fatality rate was 7.6%: fulminant meningococcemia 8.3%, and meningococcemia 10%. It was concluded that N. meningitidis group C continues to account for almost a third of the cases of meningococcal disease and is the major cause of fulminant meningococcemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-264
Number of pages4
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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