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The Stonehouse study: secretor status and carriage of Neisseria species

  • C. C. Blackwell (a1), D. M. Weir (a1), V. S. James (a1), K. A. V. Cartwright (a2), J. M. Stuart (a3) and D. M. Jones (a4)...

Summary

The genetically determined inability to secrete the water-soluble glycoprotein form of the ABO blood group antigens into saliva and other body fluids is a recognized risk factor for meningococcal disease. During a community-wide investigation of a prolonged outbreak of disease due to a B15: P1.16 sulphonamideresistant strain of Neisseria meningitidis in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire (the Stonehouse survey), the ABO blood group and secretor status of almost 5000 residents was determined.

The proportion of non-secretors in the Stonehouse population was significantly higher than the proportion of non-secretors among blood donors in the South West Region and in England generally. Seven of 13 Stonehouse residents with meningococcal disease who were tested were found to be non-secretors, a high proportion. The outbreak in Stonehouse cannot be explained solely in terms of the increased proportion of non-secretors. There was no clear correlation between the proportions of non-secretors in different areas within the town and the incidence of cases of meningococcal disease.

Carriers of meningococci, whether outbreak or other strains, were not more likely to be non-secretors. The reasons why non-secretors are more susceptible to meningococcal disease remain to be determined, but they do not appear to be related to carriage of meningococci.

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References

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