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Serogroup W meningococcal disease: global spread and current affect on the Southern Cone in Latin America

  • R. ABAD (a1), E. L. LÓPEZ (a2), R. DEBBAG (a3) and J. A. VÁZQUEZ (a1)

Summary

Meningococcal serogroup W strains have been emerging throughout the current century with most of the isolates belonging to the sequence type (ST11)/electrophoretic type (ET37) clonal complex (ST11/E37 CC), particularly since the international outbreak following Hajj 2000. That outbreak appears to have triggered off that trend, contributing to the spread of W ST11/ET37 CC strains globally; however, local strains could be also responsible for increases in the percentage and/or incidence rates of this serogroup in some countries. More recently, unexpected increases in the percentage and incidence rate of W has been noticed in different countries located in the South Cone in Latin America, and W ST11/ET37 CC strains now appear as endemic in the region and an extensive immunization programme with tetravalent conjugate vaccine (covering serogroups A, C, Y and W) has been recently implemented in Chile. It is difficult to ascertain whether we are observing the emergence of W ST11 CC strains in different geographical areas or whether the Hajj 2000 strain is still spreading globally. Several aspects of the evolution of that situation are analysed in this paper, reviewing also the implications in immunization programmes. Closely related with the analysis of this potential evolution, it will be very interesting to monitor the evolution of serogroup W in the African meningitis belt after implementation of the extensive immunization programme with serogroup A conjugate vaccine that is currently underway. More data about carriers, transmission, clonal lineages, etc. are needed for taking decisions (target groups, outbreak control, defining the extent, etc.) to adapt the response strategy with potential interventions with broad coverage vaccines against the emergent serogroup W.

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Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Dr J. A. Vázquez Reference Laboratory for Meningococci, Institute of Health Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain. (Email: jvazquez@isciii.es)

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Keywords

Serogroup W meningococcal disease: global spread and current affect on the Southern Cone in Latin America

  • R. ABAD (a1), E. L. LÓPEZ (a2), R. DEBBAG (a3) and J. A. VÁZQUEZ (a1)

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