Author Affiliation: Lee H. Harrison,
MD, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Major progress has been made in the development of meningococcal vaccines in the past few years. Monovalent serogroup C conjugate vaccines,
shown to be immunogenic and effective in infants, have dramatically decreased the incidence of serogroup C disease in the countries in which they have been used.1-4
This reduction has occurred among those immunized and, through a decrease in pharyngeal carriage of serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis, also among the unimmunized population.5,6
These vaccines do not cover serogroup Y strains, an important cause of meningococcal disease across all age groups in the United States, including infants, and are not licensed in the United States. A new tetravalent (serogroups A, C,
W-135, and Y) conjugate vaccine licensed for 2- to 55-year-olds is now recommended for all US adolescents, as well as other high-risk groups.7
This recommendation was based on the fact that US adolescents were found to have both a relatively high incidence of meningococcal disease and a high case fatality rate.7,8
Harrison LH. A Multivalent Conjugate Vaccine for Prevention of Meningococcal Disease in Infants. JAMA. 2008;299(2):217–219. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.57-c
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