Greek military recruits (993) were examined for carriage of meningococci during July 1990. Blood, saliva and throat swab specimens were obtained and each recruit answered a questionnaire providing information on age, education (a measure of socioeconomic level), place of residence, smoking habits and recent infections.
The overall carriage rate was 25% but differed between the two camps: 79/432 (18%) in Camp A and 168/561 (30%) in Camp B (P < 0·0005). In Camp B, there were significantly higher proportions of recruits who were non-secretors (P < 0·0005), and/or heavy smokers (P < 0·0005). They were also younger ( < 19 years old) (P < 0·001), and on the whole had fewer years of education (P < 0·0005). By univariate analysis, carriage was significantly associated with smoking. By multiple logistic regression analysis, carriage was associated with smoking (P < 0·001), age (P < 0·01) and the camp in which the recruits were based (P < 0·01). Among recruits in Camp B, 15/38 (40%) of those with recent viral infections were carriers compared with 30% for the camp in general.