The Stonehouse meningitis survey took place in 1986 . The context was a substantial and highly focal outbreak of meningococcal disease affecting the population of southern Gloucestershire and particularly the town of Stroud and its adjacent communities – a population of some 90000 individuals in the west of England. Almost all cases of meningococcal disease were due to a serogroup B, type 15, subtype P1.7,16 sulphonamide-resistant strain that had not been documented in Gloucestershire (and only rarely in the United Kingdom) prior to 1982, the first year of the outbreak. As is often the case at the start of an outbreak of meningococcal disease in a temperate country, the attack rate rose particularly in older children. For the population of Stroud as a whole the meningococcal disease attack rate rose from approximately 1·0 cases per 105 to approximately 8 per 105 population.