Meningococcal carriage in high-risk settings: A systematic review

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Abstract

Background: Historically, semi-closed populations have had high rates of meningococcal carriage and have experienced recurrent outbreaks. As such, these high-risk groups are recommended for targeted vaccination in many countries. Methods: A systematic review of eight databases and Google Scholar forward citations was conducted to characterize serogroup-specific meningococcal carriage in university students, military personnel, and Hajj pilgrims from 2007 to 2016. Results: A total of 7014 records were identified and 22 studies were included. Overall carriage ranged from 0.0% to 27.4% in Hajj pilgrims, from 1.5% to 71.1% in university students, and from 4.2% to 15.2% in military personnel. Among serogroups A, B, C, W, X, and Y, serogroup B was most prevalent in Hajj pilgrims, B and Y in university students, and B, C, and Y in military personnel. ‘Other’ serogroups were more prevalent in university students than Hajj pilgrims or military personnel. Risk factors for carriage varied by setting. Among Hajj pilgrims, a high endemicity in the country of origin increased the risk of carriage, while smoking, male sex, and frequently attending parties increased the carriage risk for university students. Similarly, smoking increased the carriage risk for professional soldiers. Data gaps remain for many regions. Conclusions: Preventative vaccination policies for high-risk groups should be based on current disease data in individual countries, supplemented by carriage data. Meningococcal carriage studies and disease surveillance are critical for determining the local epidemiology, populations responsible for disease transmission, and the need for targeted vaccination.

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Peterson, M. E., Mile, R., Li, Y., Nair, H., & Kyaw, M. H. (2018). Meningococcal carriage in high-risk settings: A systematic review. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 73, 109–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2018.05.022

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