What are serogroups of meningococci that cause meningococcal meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2018
  • Author: Francisco de Assis Aquino Gondim, MD, PhD, MSc, FAAN; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Meningococci make up numerous serogroups that are based on the composition of their polysaccharide capsular antigens. They differ in their agglutination reactions to sera directed against polysaccharide antigens. At least 13 serogroups have been described: A, B, C, D, E, H, I, K, L, W-135, X, Y, and Z. Serogroups B and C have caused most cases of meningococcal meningitis in the United States since the end of World War II; before that, group A was more prevalent. More than 99% of meningococcal infections are caused by serogroups A, B, C, 29E, or W-135.

In Europe and the Americas, serogroup B is the predominant agent causing meningococcal disease, followed in frequency by serogroup C. Historically, serogroup A was the main cause of epidemic meningococcal disease globally, and it is still the predominant cause of meningococcal meningitis in Africa and Asia.

Go to Haemophilus Meningitis, Meningitis, Staphylococcal Meningitis, Tuberculous Meningitis, Viral Meningitis, and Aseptic Meningitis for more complete information on these topics.

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