Issue

Vol 126 No 1373: 19 April 2013

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Issue Summary

SUMMARY

Unanswered questions, the epidemiology of a community outbreak: meningococcal C disease in Northland, New Zealand, 2011

In this study we describe the epidemiology of a community outbreak of Meningococcal C disease in Northland in 2011, and national trends in serogroup C disease in New Zealand. In 2011, the rate of group C meningococcal disease for the population in the Whangarei district aged less than 20 years was 27.6 cases per 100,000 population (6 cases) compared with 17.6 cases per 100,000 population under 20 years (8 cases) in the Northland District Health Board (DHB). All except one case were under 20 years of age. 33% of these cases died. Nationally the rate of meningococcal C disease has fluctuated over the last decade, with an increasing trend apparent since 2007. There has been a noticeable increase over the last 3 years of group C cases infected with the C:P1.5-1,10-8 strain (including all of the Northland cases). This strain has also been associated with a higher case fatality rate (16% in the period 2007-2011). Meningococcal C disease in New Zealand, although still less common than group B, is poorly understood. The relationships between carriage, invasive disease and community outbreaks deserve greater study. Active monitoring of surveillance data is warranted to ensure timely funded introduction of the highly effective meningococcal C conjugate vaccine on to the national immunisation schedule when appropriate, given increasing disease rates, the high case fatality rate and significant Mori non-Mori inequities in disease incidence.

SUMMARY

Unanswered questions, the epidemiology of a community outbreak: meningococcal C disease in Northland, New Zealand, 2011

In this study we describe the epidemiology of a community outbreak of Meningococcal C disease in Northland in 2011, and national trends in serogroup C disease in New Zealand. In 2011, the rate of group C meningococcal disease for the population in the Whangarei district aged less than 20 years was 27.6 cases per 100,000 population (6 cases) compared with 17.6 cases per 100,000 population under 20 years (8 cases) in the Northland District Health Board (DHB). All except one case were under 20 years of age. 33% of these cases died. Nationally the rate of meningococcal C disease has fluctuated over the last decade, with an increasing trend apparent since 2007. There has been a noticeable increase over the last 3 years of group C cases infected with the C:P1.5-1,10-8 strain (including all of the Northland cases). This strain has also been associated with a higher case fatality rate (16% in the period 2007-2011). Meningococcal C disease in New Zealand, although still less common than group B, is poorly understood. The relationships between carriage, invasive disease and community outbreaks deserve greater study. Active monitoring of surveillance data is warranted to ensure timely funded introduction of the highly effective meningococcal C conjugate vaccine on to the national immunisation schedule when appropriate, given increasing disease rates, the high case fatality rate and significant Mori non-Mori inequities in disease incidence.