Seroprevalence of antibodies against serogroup C meningococci in England in the postvaccination era

, , , , , , and . Clinical and Vaccine Immunology: CVI 15 (11): 1694--8 (November 2008)PMID: 18827191.


The United Kingdom introduced meningococcal serogroup C conjugate (MCC) vaccines in 1999, resulting in substantial declines in serogroup C disease and carriage. Here, we measured the age-specific prevalence of serum bactericidal antibodies (SBA) to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C and immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentrations to serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y in 2,673 serum samples collected in England between 2000 and 2004. We compared the seroprevalence of SBA titers of \textgreater or =8 in the postvaccination era with results from an earlier prevaccination study conducted using the same methods. We found that the percentages of individuals with protective SBA titers were higher in 2000 to 2004 in all of the age groups targeted for MCC vaccination. In the postvaccine era, the prevalence of protective titers was high (75\%) in children who had recently been offered routine immunization, but this fell to 36\% more than 18 months after scheduled immunization. In the cohorts targeted in the catch-up campaign, the percentage achieving SBA titers of \textgreater or =8 was higher in children offered the vaccine at ages 5 to 17 years than in children offered the vaccine at ages 1 to 4 years. The geometric mean concentration (GMC) IgG for serogroup C followed a similar pattern, corresponding to the age at and time since scheduled MCC vaccination. Serogroup-specific IgG GMCs for W-135 and Y were low and showed little variation by age. Serogroup A IgG GMCs were higher, possibly reflecting exposure to cross-reacting antigens. Although the incidence of serogroup C disease remains low due to persisting herd effects, population antibody levels to serogroup C meningococci should be monitored so that potentially susceptible age groups can be identified should herd immunity wane.

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