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Yonsei Med J. 2012 Jul 1;53(4):742-7. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.4.742.

Carriage rates and serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis among freshmen in a University dormitory in Korea.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.



Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in young adults. University students, especially those living in dormitories, have been known to be at increased risk of meningococcal disease. We performed a longitudinal study to determine the carriage rates of N. meningitidis and the changes thereof.


We recruited Inha University freshmen who were, at that time, admitted to a student dormitory. A pharyngeal swab was taken from all participant who were also asked to complete a questionnaire. This was repeated four weeks later.


A total of 136 students were enrolled at the first culture. After four weeks, 128 students were enrolled, including 106 re-participants. The overall carriage rates changed from 11.8% to 14.1%. In analysis of the 106 re-participants, "visiting to pubs" was associated with carriage of N. meningitis for both the first (p=0.047) and second cultures (p=0.026). Serogroup C was found to be the most frequent serogroup (5 isolates), while 3 isolates were found from serogroup B. The most prevalent PorA types were P1.22,14-6 (4 isolates) and P1.19,15 (3 isolates). The DNA sequences of PorA VR2 were changed in 2 students during prolonged carriage.


The meningococcal carriage rate among first year university students who resided in a dormitory did not significantly increase over 4-week interval between cultures, which is markedly different from those reported in Western studies. Close social contact appeared to be related with carriage. Our data also revealed diversity in PorA types, suggesting the possibility of rapid mutation of the PorA gene during the 4-week interval.

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