Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease, New York City, 1989-2000

Alexandre Sampaio Moura, Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Marcelle Layton, Don Weiss


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2003;9(3) 

In This Article


In New York City, during the period from 1989 to 2000, the overall incidence rates of meningococcal disease decreased. This reduction was more evident in the younger age groups, and therefore the median age of patients with meningococcal disease increased. Independent of the changes in the age distribution, the proportion of cases caused by serogroup Y increased and those caused by serogroup B decreased. The CFR did not change significantly throughout the study period and is higher than national figures. The incidence of serogroup B infections has dramatically declined. Evidence suggests that this decline may be the unintended result of H. influenzae type b vaccine use that incorporates the meningococcus serogroup B outer membrane protein. The implications of this finding require further research because currently no available vaccine or satisfactory method exists for controlling outbreaks from serogroup B.

Understanding trends in meningococcal disease epidemiology is important in redefining appropriate measures of control and prevention. The identification of groups at high risk and the distribution of prevailing meningococcal serogroups will be critical in future decisions and recommendations regarding the nonepidemic use of meningococcal vaccine.