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J Infect Dis. 1998 Feb;177(2):497-500.

New Zealand epidemic of meningococcal disease identified by a strain with phenotype B:4:P1.4.

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  • 1Institute of Environmental Science & Research Limited, Communicable Disease Center, Porirua, New Zealand.


New Zealand is experiencing an epidemic of serogroup B meningococcal disease, which has taken the rate of disease from an average of 1.5/100,000 population in the preepidemic years of 1989 and 1990 to 14.0/100,000 in 1996. Sterile-site isolates of Neisseria meningitidis from cases of invasive disease have been phenotypically characterized by serogrouping, serotyping, and serosubtyping, revealing the involvement of a strain with phenotype B:4:P1.4. Macrorestriction analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis on 667 meningococci isolated from cases during the epidemic has identified the clonal relationship of meningococci expressing the PorA P1.4 antigen. Multilocus enzyme electrophoresis has shown the epidemic strain B:4:P1.4 to belong to lineage III. The recorded characteristics of New Zealand's epidemic are consistent with previous serogroup B epidemics in other parts of the world.

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