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Serogroup W135 Meningococcal Disease, The Gambia, 2012 - Vol. 19 No. 9 - September 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Serogroup W135 Meningococcal Disease, The Gambia, 2012 - Vol. 19 No. 9 - September 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Table of Contents
Volume 19, Number 9–September 2013

Volume 19, Number 9—September 2013


Serogroup W135 Meningococcal Disease, The Gambia, 2012

M. Jahangir HossainComments to Author , Anna Roca, Grant A. Mackenzie, Momodou Jasseh, Mohammad Ilias Hossain, Shah Muhammad, Manjang Ahmed, Osuorah Donatus Chidiebere, Ndiaye Malick, S.M. Bilquees, Usman N. Ikumapayi, Baba Jeng, Baba Njie, Mamady Cham, Beate Kampmann, Tumani Corrah, Stephen Howie, and Umberto D’Alessandro
Author affiliations: Medical Research Council Unit, Banjul, The Gambia (M.J. Hossain, A. Roca, G.A. Mackenzie, M. Jasseh, M.I. Hossain, S. Muhammad, M. Ahmed, O.D. Chidiebere, N. Malick, S.M. Bilquees, U.N. Ikumapayi, B. Kampmann, T. Corrah, S. Howie, U. D’Alessandro); Ministry of Health, Banjul (B. Jeng, B. Njie, M. Cham); Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (U. D’Alessandro)
Suggested citation for this article


In 2012, an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 occurred in The Gambia. The attack rate was highest among young children. The associated risk factors were male sex, contact with meningitis patients, and difficult breathing. Enhanced surveillance facilitates early epidemic detection, and multiserogroup conjugate vaccine could reduce meningococcal epidemics in The Gambia.
Meningococcal disease is endemic to the African “meningitis belt”; outbreaks occur regularly (1,2). Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A causes most (80%) cases. However, during 2002–2003, serogroup W135 caused a major epidemic in Burkina Faso (attack rate [AR] 251 cases/100,000 population) (3). Thereafter, the incidence of serogroup W135 was low, with isolated cases and a small-scale outbreak in the meningitis belt (4,5). In 2010, serogroup A conjugate vaccine was introduced into the African meningitis belt and substantially reduced the incidence of meningitis (6).
In The Gambia, only 6 serogroup W135 cases were identified during 1990–1995; the most recent case had been reported in 1995 (7). In 2012, a large epidemic of serogroup W135 occurred throughout the meningitis belt, including The Gambia (1). Most risk factors identified in the meningitis belt concern serogroup A (8,9), and risk factors for serogroup W135 are little studied. Therefore, we report the investigation of this epidemic and the related risk factors.

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